July 05, (THEWILL) – Two suspected international passport racketeers, travelling to India, were arrested by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos Command.
The travellers were identified as Melekwe Gift and Melekwe Peace.
A statement by Mrs Louisa Amadiokoro, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lagos Airport Command, stated that the two travellers were arrested during an immigration clearance, adding that this was made possible through the stringent measures put in place by the command.
The statement quoted Kemi Nandap, the Assistant Comptroller-General, MMA Command, as saying that the command had improved its surveillance and security measures in line with Mr Isah Jere Idris, the Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service.
According to Nandap, the command had ensured drastic reduction in human trafficking through the airport, stressing that the arrested travellers claimed to be a couple, but regretted that they were in possession of a stolen and a fake passport, respectively.
She expressed that Melekwe Gift was in possession of a stolen passport that was watch-listed on the July 29, 2011, while Melekwe Peace was in possession of a fake passport, revealed by the command’s forensic investigation.
However, the two claimed to have obtained the passports through an agent named Yusuf.
She added, “Upon investigation, it was uncovered that the couple were travelling to seek greener pastures, which contradicted their earlier claim that Melekwe Gift was travelling for medical treatment- claiming she was suffering from leukemia, whereas she was perfectly healthy.
“Further investigation revealed that they were not a couple, but strangers that only met a day before their planned trip.”
Nandap explained further that Gift’s real names were Endurance Ofem Ikpi from Ugep, Cross Rivers state and was never married to Melekwe Peace, but was instructed by the agent to claim so.
Gift in her statement, claimed that her old friend, Tina, who now resides in India, introduced her to the idea of travelling with the promise that she would get her a job in India.
Nandap explained that the suspects were obviously travelling abroad in search of greener pastures and were also suspected victims of human trafficking.
The suspects, after interrogation were handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for further necessary action.
About the Author
Anthony Awunor, is a business correspondent who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics (UNILAG). He is also an alumnus of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria Kaduna State. He lives in Lagos.