Nigeria Immigration Service receives 9 repatriated Nigerians from stowaway attempt in The Gambia
2 of the stowaways almost drowned in their bid to evade arrest, but were rescued and taken to the Nigeria High Commission in The Gambia.
Comptroller of the NIS at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Mrs Adesola Adesokan, advised Nigerians against stowing away to Europe. Speaking with newsmen on the development, she described stowing away as a death trap into which many Nigerians had fallen and had lost their lives.
Adesokan said the nine stowaways received on Tuesday were handed over to immigration officials by officials of the Gambian Immigration Service. She noted that two of the stowaways almost drowned in their bid to evade arrest, but were rescued and taken to the Nigeria High Commission in The Gambia.
She added that the High Commission processed emergency travel documents for the nine stowaways to be repatriated to Nigeria, but were reluctant to return home.
“Nine Nigerians were sent back by The Gambian Immigration Service after attempting to stow away through the sea.
“Two of them almost lost their lives because they could not swim after jumping into the sea to evade arrest.
“Security officers were able to rescue them; put them in the boat and took them to a hotel where they were given food but, they vehemently resisted plans to return them to Nigeria,’’ she said.
Adesokan added that the stowaways demanded money from the Gambian immigration service as a condition to return to Nigeria.
“They were eventually taken to the Nigeria High Commission in Banjul, which persuaded them and issued them emergency travel documents so they could return to Nigeria,’’ she stated.
She advised those planning to engage in irregular migration to desist and follow the right channel and also called for value reorientation. She stressed that irregular migrants eventually got caught and deported, adding that some ended up doing odd jobs.
Adesokan noted that the stowaways were young Nigerians between the ages of 21 years to 30 years. Also speaking with newsmen, the returnee stowaways expressed regret at their action and claimed that they were lured into the voyage by friends who luckily made it to Europe through the same route.
One of the stowaways, Abdul Yakubu, said that he was selling noodles and fried eggs on Lagos Island before he was cajoled to embark on the trip. Yakubu said he lost ₦70,000 which he paid to the man who introduced and boarded him on the ship.
Another stowaway, Daniel Vincent, said they did not take any food or water when they boarded the ship at Tin Can Port in Lagos because they thought Europe was a three-day journey by sea.
Vincent said he was shocked to realise that he had not left the shores of Africa when they were detected by the ship’s crew members and handed over to the Gambian immigrations service.
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