Crime Guard

May 24, 2024

Biz woman raise alarm over alleged accusation of human trafficking by NIS officials

Biz woman raise alarm over alleged accusation of human trafficking by NIS officials

By Esther Onyegbula

A business woman, Ms Roscess Okemebeose has raised alarm over alleged accusation of human trafficking levelled against her by some officials of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.

Roscess is alleging that two staff of NIS and her superior (names withheld) of the Abuja headquarters accused her of being a human trafficker in the course of renewing her international passport.

According to Roscess, the incident happened in August 2023 when she approached the two NIS officials for the renewal of her international passport and that of her two children who were born in Germany.

“I wanted to reflect a change of name on my International Passport and those of my two children and was told that the Abuja headquarters of NIS was the right immigration office to do it since the children were not born in Nigeria.

 “I swore an affidavit and did a newspaper publication and headed for NIS headquarters, Abuja.  Upon arrival in Abuja on August 8 2023, I met an immigration officer, who welcomed me and promised expeditious production and issuance of the passports within a week or maximum of two, to enable me to embark on my medical and business trips. She told me that the price for each of the five year passports was N45, 000 which I agreed to pay.

“While I was waiting, she told me the price had changed to N60, 000 each which I also accepted. She directed me to go for capture, which I did.   Few days later, I was surprised when I received a call from the female officer simply called Hafsat allegedly that the price had again changed to N90,000., that she later made a deposit of 180,000 with a promise to pay the balance of N90,000 when the passports are out.

“However, trouble started when Hafsat allegedly again increased the price to N200, 000 each, citing official increment. Suspecting foul play, I demanded a refund of my initial deposit.  Upon my refusal to agree to pay the new price, Hafsat, in connivance with one of her superiors, one Ahmed, tagged me a human trafficker and threatened to input it in my data if I failed to play along.”

She further alleged that while  attempting to retrieve her expired passports which she had earlier submitted to Hafsat, she (Hafsat)allegedly went around the Abuja office of NIS showing her passport to those present and telling them to ‘see the face of a human trafficker.’

Roscess however said after the matter was reported to the Director of Legal at NIS, her deposit of N180, 000 was refunded in batches of N150, 000 and N30, 000 with a promise to issue her new passports since she had already been captured.

However, eight months later, the passports are yet to be issued which has prevented her from travelling for medical treatments abroad as well doing her business.

She also said the incident has caused her nervous breakdown as she had expended lots of money travelling to and fro Abuja over the issue.

A civil society organization, Open Society on Justice Reform Project (OSJRP), through its Director of Legal, Don Akaegbu, has however threatened to institute a legal action against the NIS through a Pre-Action Notice on behalf of Roscess if the matter is not investigated by the authority and necessary actions taking to assuage the fear of Roscess concerning the alleged human trafficking tag as well as issue her a new passports.

When contacted on her mobile number, Hafsat denied the allegation of human trafficking tag on Roscess.  According to her, Roscess was asked to produce some documents to prove the children were truly hers which she could not produce.

“Nobody called her a human trafficker or threatened to input it in her data. We asked her to bring some documents to show she was truly the mother of the children but she could not produce it,” Hafsat said.

She, however, admitted that the sum of N180, 000 was collected from Roscess but had since been returned to her.