Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Sunday, disagreed with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences, ICPC, over corruption allegation levelled against four of its arrested officers.
The four Immigration officers, Ngozi Eboji (CSI); Betty Adeda (SI); Louis Abimbola (ASI 2) and Olawale Okunola (ASI 2) attached to ENL Terminal were arrested after completion of arrival boarding formalities onboard MV YUN DER berthed at ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos recently.
The Immigration Service said the arrested officers were standing and waiting for a vehicle to convey them back to their office when from nowhere, some gunmen in plain clothes, who were later found out to be ICPC operatives, swooped on them and forcefully rushed them inside a waiting bus to their dismay.
The Service said all efforts by the officers to know the identities of their abductors, as there was no means of identifying them, the reason for their arrest and their intended destination, were ignored.
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“It is also curious to note that as of the time of the arrest, no carton of fish was found with the officers as they stood.
“It should be noted that if the claimed cartons of fish were actually found with the officers, one would have expected their abductors to take photographs of them with the cartons, even if it is with the phone to prove their case, in this era of technology. They only succeeded in showing the pictures of the officers without the cartons of fish.”
The Service added “No official communication was made to the Command on the wrongdoing if there is any at all, and the arrest of the officers by them.
“The telephones of the arrested officers were seized, switched off and that made it also difficult for the officers to communicate with their office.
“Upon their arrest, they claimed to have made a statement, claiming the ownership of the cartons of fish that were in possession of ICPC Officials under duress at gunpoint with the ICPC operatives.”
The Immigration source said the attempt made by ICPC officials to link them with the cartons of frozen fish in possession of ICPC officials and their rushing to the press was “ill-conceived with a bid to tarnish the image of the Service and the officers involved in the arrest, as the cartons were not found with the officers.
“It is on record that the clearance procedure was conducted at the instance of the captain and the authorised agent (APS). The Ship captain remarked that the officers were good and that the boarding officers did not make any demand for gratification or engaged in wrongdoing to warrant the Gestapo arrest of the officers in uniform; this was also corroborated by the Shipping Agent in his statement.
“The Immigration Service under the visionary leadership of Alhaji Muhammad Babandede(MFR) has received a lot of accolades and awards both nationally and globally for being in the forefront of the Federal Government commitment to ease of doing business; which has brought about the introduction of Visa-On-Arrival by the Service, among other reforms.”