- Faith-based sponsor charges children ₦50,000 for alleged scholarship
NIGERIA Immigration Service ( NIS) Border Patrol Command at Seme over the weekend intercepted 189 suspected human trafficking victims, children who claim to be on scholarship travelling to Benin Republic without travel documents, admission letters or scholarship letters.
The children mostly minors, aged from 15- 20 years were intercepted in two days with 92 of them stopped at the border on Saturday 22nd of January and Monday 24th of January 2022. Of the group of 189 children, only three (3) had passport documents which was the main reason they were stopped.
The children, made up of 115 Girls and 74 Boys, were being transported by a faith-based institution, The Afternoon Church, which had some of their pastors with them.
NigerianFLIGHTDECK established that the huge number of people being transported all paid fifty thousand naira ₦50,000 for the alleged scholarship after paying ₦9000 from their take off base in Aba, Abia State, the children were said to have been drawn from States such as Abia, Kogi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Lagos and Imo among others could neither present any admission letters nor evidence of payment of school fees for their studies. Moreover, only three of them hold valid travel documents.
Acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Jere Idris who flew in from Abuja to address the situation and hand the children over to National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said eagle-eyed immigration officers saw the group without documents and had to halt them.
One of the unsuspecting children, Chinecherem Ubani who spoke to our correspondent, explained they got the scholarship from the Afternoon church after writing an exam.
Another, Miracle Amaechi Mathew admitted she did not have a WAEC result yet but claimed the church would take care of it, all admitted to paying ₦50000 for the scholarship.
The victims while speaking with the acting Comptroller General said that they were on their way to Emerald University in Benin Republic to commence degree programmes. They stated that the faith-based organization operating in Imo and Abia States offered them provisional admissions into the school.
Investigations by NIS further revealed that two persons namely Sunday Emmanuel Chinasa and Ms. Rose Onum Uduma who were also arrested along with the victims coordinated the trip. The duo claimed to be students of ISCG University in Benin Republic and had been mandated to facilitate the movement of the youths to Benin Republic.
The Acting Comptroller General further called on the general public to beware of fraudsters who come up in diverse styles and antics to deceive unsuspecting people into accepting all manner of offers abroad.
He maintained that the Service under his watch will continue to ensure enhanced border security and migration management to discourage all forms of irregular migration.