UK Deports 41 Nigerians for Immigration Offences


Chinedu Eze

The United Kingdom has deported about 41 Nigerians for committing various immigration offences.

The deportees, who were brought into the country in the early hours of yesterday, comprised 33 men and eight women.

They arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, at 7.55 a.m. onboard a chartered aircraft.

THISDAY learnt that some of the offences of the deportees included holding and wielding expired and fake travel documents and illegal entry into the UK through different routes.

An informed source with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) said some of them had sought for asylum in the UK, which was not granted by the immigration authorities, while some had spent 24 months or more in Britain before they were deported.

The deportees, who wore sad and sullen faces, were eccentric, irascible and very hostile to journalists who wanted to speak with them as they clutched their luggage, largely jute bags, locally known as Ghana Must Go bags.

However, one of the deportees who identified himself as Charles admitted to newsmen that he entered the UK with a visitor’s visa about two years ago, which had since expired.

He said he regretted his deportation, saying that it would now be difficult for him to enter the UK again, but bemoaned the bad economic situation in Nigeria.

“I didn’t enter the UK with fake papers. I actually applied through the UK Embassy in Lagos and I was issued a six months visa, but when my visa expired, I decided to stay back there because there is no job in Nigeria.

“I’ve actually spent two years in the UK before I was arrested by the security authorities at my workplace. I regret not leaving the country at the right time especially when my visa was due.

“With this now, I won’t be able to return to that country. I just hope that our government can make Nigeria comfortable for its citizenry, as a lot of us want to work and earn a living for ourselves,” Charles said.

Some of the deportees were later seen loitering around the entrance of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc while others tried to make phone calls to their families to pick them from the airport.

A source close to one of the agencies involved in the repatriation, said most of the deportees were returned from the UK for criminal offences.

However, another source close to the NIS confirmed that none of the deportees had criminal records before their deportation and would be allowed to go to their various destinations after going through the immigration process.