Precious Deborah, a Twitter user with the handle @darbyy___, has narrated how she was extorted by an officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, while on her way to Dubai in September.
In a Twitter thread, Deborah narrated how she was forced to pay N10,000 to the officer before she was allowed to board her flight on September 23.
“After checking in, I moved to the immigration section just before the boarding gate, to get my biometrics done and my passport stamped,” she wrote.
“I was just there pressing my phone and waiting in line till it was my turn. This immigrations officer walks up to me and says, “move there”, and points at a counter on the opposite side of where I was standing.
“There were two people before me on the queue. I didn’t really think about why he skipped them and came to me. I was just happy to get it done and go sit down, I was tired of the waka waka.”
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ISOLATED FOR QUESTIONING
Deborah stated that she was moved to a counter with no queue, just to be questioned by the Nigerian immigration officer in the booth.
“I got to the counter, greeted the immigrations officer in the booth and handed him my passport. The next thing he asked was, ‘Hmm, where are you travelling to?‘. I responded, ‘Dubai, sir,'” she wrote.
“He made a face while proceeding to scan my data page and asked ‘Hmm, but are you up to 40?’ I smiled and answered ‘No sir, you’re with my passport, I’m not 40‘.
“He looks at my passport and looks at me and said ‘Ehn, so how come you’re going to Dubai, Dubai is not accepting Nigerians under 40. Let me see your visa.’ I handed him a printed copy of my visa, he looked at it and continued the process, “place your right four fingers on the scanner”, I did.”
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Deborah then went on to talk about how the immigration officer refused to stamp her passport booklet after the completion of her biometric process, insisting she meet with his ‘Oga‘.
“I took my passport and walked towards the ‘Oga’. There was a young guy and a young babe with him that seemed to be begging him, I was confused,” she wrote.
“When I got there, I greeted him ‘Good evening sir, I was asked to meet you‘. He sized me up and said ‘Ehen, where are you going?‘ I said, ‘Dubai’. Lifting his shoulder like oga true true, ‘Ehn, to do what?‘ ‘I’m going to relax.’
“This man starts telling me that Dubai doesn’t want Nigerians under 40. I said ‘but I have a visa‘. He said he won’t stamp the passport, what do I want to do?”
“I faced the lady and the guy that were with him before me, ‘what’s this about?’ They whispered, ‘you know these people, they just want us to settle them‘.
“My head became hot, settle them as how? I have a visa!!! Abi what’s really going on here?
“The lady and the guy moved to Oga and started talking to him (looked like they were negotiating). I was hearing ‘something something hundred dollars‘, in my head. I’m laughing like ‘huh? what is this really?‘”
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PEOPLE UNDER 40 BEING TARGETED
Deborah recalled that more people joined them and that was when she realised that all the people the officers had brought to the aisle were young and headed for Dubai.
“It was all a plan to use fear to exploit us. The couple got their passport stamped after paying. Oga turned to me and said ‘It’s in your hands, how much do you have?‘,” she wrote.
“I also clicked that the two people before me on the queue earlier were older, that’s why they were skipped. Realising what these people were doing made me so upset.
“I looked at him and said ‘sir, this money you want to collect from me now, is that what will make Dubai accept me?‘ He told me my mouth was sharp and I should stand aside so he could attend to those who were ‘ready‘.
“Everyone else seemed to be begging them so I was pretty much alone in that fight. I succumbed and said ‘I have 5k‘.
“He laughed at me and looked away, then I said ‘I have 10k‘. ‘That your 10k is too small oh, add something‘. He said a whole lot more about how someone like me going to Dubai should have money.
“He called the first immigrations officer that took me out of the queue and said ‘she wants to transfer 10k‘.”
“When I tell you this was all planned, down to the account number. It wasn’t theirs. This was the name on the account they gave me,” she noted.
“After I had paid, they stamped my passport. Isn’t this crazy??? That someone with a visa had to pay to get their passport stamped?”
READ ALSO: At Immigration Headquarters, Officer Muyideen Akande Takes N40,000 From Man Seeking Int Passport, Flees
Reacting to the incident, the Nigeria Immigration Service via their official twitter handle stated that Isah Jere Idris, the comptroller general of the agency, had ordered an investigation into the matter.
“He assures that [sic] stiff sanctions await any Personnel proven to have been involved in such unprofessional conduct. The public shall be notified of the outcome of the investigation in due course,” the agency tweeted.
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