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Captured Nigerians In Gambia Arrive Lagos



The nine Nigerians who reportedly  attempted to stowaway to Europe through The Gambia have been received by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos Command.

According to the stowaways, they were lured into the voyage by some of their friends who were lucky to make it to Europe through the same path.

It was  gathered that the Nigerians involved are between the age range of 21 to 30.

They attempted to travel to Europe through The Gambia sea, but they were spotted by the ship captain who immediately alerted the security agencies of the neighbouring country.

It was also learnt that in a bid to escape arrest, the stowaways jumped into the high sea with two of them struggling to swim.

They were eventually rescued from drowning and taken to the Nigeria High Commission in The Gambia which immediately processed emergency travel documents for them to be repatriated to Nigeria, despite their reluctance to return into the country.

The stowaways were brought back to Nigeria through Asky Airlines with the registration number: via Lome, Togo.

Meanwhile, the Comptroller, NIS, MMIA Command, Mrs. Adesola Adesokan, has described the development as a deathtrap.

Adesokan, lamented the incessant stowaway incidents among Nigerians and admonished them against it.

She said: “Such a trip is a deathtrap waiting to happen. Many Nigerians had lost their lives through such means in the past.

“The nine stowaways have been handed over to the MMIA Command by the officials of the Gambian immigration service.

“About nine Nigerians were sent back by The Gambian immigration officers for attempted stowaway in the high sea and two of them almost lost their lives in the process because when they were discovered, they attempted to escape and jumped into the high sea. Unfortunately for them, two of them could not swim.

“The captain of the ship had to get in touch with the country that is within the neighbourhood for the rescue mission. The security officers were able to quickly rescue them, put them in the boat and took them to a hotel where they were given food.

“But, they were very resistant and refused to return to Nigeria. In fact, they were still demanding money from the immigration service there before they could return to Nigeria. They were eventually taken to the Nigeria High Commission in The Gambia, which persuaded them and issued them emergency travel documents for them to be able to be brought back to Nigeria through the MMIA.”

She also appealed to such irregular travelers to desist from it and follow the right channel of travels to any country of their choice.

“We need to change our mentality. When they get there illegally, the first thing is they will begin to hide and when they are caught, they will be deported. Even when they are not caught, they go there to do odd jobs that they cannot be proud of doing to their friends and family members.

“They should look before they leap. Most of the time, it may be a journey of no return. I am not saying you can’t travel abroad, but, go there legally, read your books, apply it in the right way, apply to travel and go and showcase Nigeria as a very intelligent nation in the comity of nations,” she said.

In response to the situation, one of the stowaways, Abdul Yakubu, alleged that he was selling noodles and dried eggs on Lagos island before he was cajoled to embark on the trip.

He alleged that he lost N70,000, which he paid to the man who introduced and boarded him on the ship.

Also, another member of the returnees, Daniel Vincent, said he thought he would have been in Europe after three days of the trip.

Vincent said he was shocked to realise that he had not left the shore of Africa when they were detected by the crew members of the ship and handed over to immigration in The Gambia.

“They told us we would be in Europe within five or six days. We didn’t carry any food or water with us when we boarded the ship at Tin Can Port in Lagos. It was a very regrettable experience I would not encourage even my enemies to embark upon,” he said.

A boat driver, who declined to give his name, claimed he had once embarked on an unsuccessful trip as a stowaway.

He claimed he was convinced to embark on the journey by a friend who successfully entered Europe through the illegal method.

Victoria Philip is not only a Journalist but also a talented fiction writer. You can reach her on this numbers, 08135853903, 09112869878