Chiemelie Ezeobi and Sarah Agbamuche
Two suspected visa racketeers, 31-year-old Awolola Segus Sesan and Adebayo Rilwan Ajasa, 28, have been apprehended by the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Lagos.
This is just as the unit also arrested one Afolabi Olubunmi, a single mother from Osun State, who procured a fake United Kingdom visa with passport number A0055907.
The duo were arrested for forging visa payment slips, procuring fake visas and editing the fake visas using Microsoft Corel Draw application to edit the payment slips.
Trouble started for the duo when Ajasa received the sum of N60,000 in his Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) account from an applicant (names withheld) to procure appointment/visa fee for his son.
He however ended up buying an already used payment receipt belonging to another applicant from his partner, Sesan for the sum of N30,000.
In his confessional statement, Ajasa said he has booked over 20 online applications for a fee between 15 and 20 thousand naira, but has never defrauded them.
According to him, this incident was his first attempt to defraud an applicant since he joined the visa procurement business in 2012, adding that his misdemeanor backfired on him woefully.
Sesan, on his own part, denied ever collecting any money from his alleged accomplice, adding that he never procured any receipt for him either.
Confirming the arrests, SFU Public Relations Officer, Lawal Audu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the suspects had defrauded several applicants using such means.
He said the irregularities were noticed by the American Embassy who alerted the unit, who in turn made the arrest at Tinubu square, Lagos Island.
According to the PRO, upon interrogation, Sesan had revealed that he was working with one notorious document vendor, Ismaila Adekunle Adefile, who was arrested in 2016 for the same offence and charged to a Magistrate Court in Lagos.
In another development, Olubunmi, who, in a desperate move to the travel to the UK, was arrested for procuring a fake visa to travel.
The 34-year-old, who said her motive for traveling was to boost her embroidering and accessory business, was arrested with a passport containing fake UK visa, Heathrow Immigration stamp, Chinese visa, including departure/arrival stamps of various African countries.
Olubunmi, however confessed to have paid N70,000 to one Olawale, a vendor in Ibadan to procure a fake UK, Chinese stamps on her passport in order to boost her travel history as she planned to also travel to the US.
Confirming the incident, SFU PRO advised the public to apply and obtain visas from embassies and high commission and not through private individuals.
He said: â€œMembers of the public should desist from patronising visa vendors as it has adverse effects on their identities which may affect them in future.
â€œInvestigations are still on and suspects will further be charged to court.
â€œThey should also note that the American Consulate, British Deputy High Commission and French Consulate will always inform the unit about any applicant who either submits fake documents to support their application or use deception to obtain visas.â€