Chinedu Eze

Three European nations – Sweden, Norway and Spain – in the wee hours of Tuesday deported 29 Nigerians and two Togolese male nationals to the country in dehumanising leg chains.

The flight, which landed at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, at 6.45 a.m., was operated by Privilege Style aircraft with registration number EC-IZO.

The passengers onboard the flight included 27 Nigerian males, two females and two Togolese males who were deposited in Nigeria, just as the flight took off at 8.30 a.m. to Ghana from Nigeria.

THISDAY learnt that nine of the Nigerian passengers were deported for alleged drug trafficking, while the rest were sent back to their fatherland for immigration offences.

An airport official, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that by the time the deportees were taken onboard the flight, the 29 males were chained at the ankles because they were considered huge and could pose a threat to the immigration and police officials in the aircraft.

“I can authoritatively confirm that the males were kept in chains out of fear that they might resist their arrest and deportation, but they removed the chains a few hours into the journey.
“Other than the fact they were unwilling to return to their country, the deportees were very sad because of the ill-treatment they experienced in the hands of the officials.

“One of them told me that the immigration and police officials were so despicable and rough in the way they treated the deportees,” the source told THISDAY.

Some of the deported Nigerians, THISDAY learnt, had been held since last year and were prevented from communicating with their relatives and friends until it was time to bring them back to Nigeria.

The spokesman of the Lagos Airport Police Command, DSP Joseph Alabi confirmed the deportation of the 29 Nigerians and two Togolese.

Alabi said the deportees were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the police.
He said also others at the airport to receive them were officials the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to him, nine of the persons, who were deported for alleged drug-related offences, were handed over to the NDLEA, while two others who were deported for criminal offences were handed over to the police.

Alabi said the remaining deportees who allegedly committed immigration-related offences, were profiled and allowed to leave for their respective destinations.