Immigration: Oluwole, popular den of forgery raided by Lagos joint force

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Nigeria Immigration

THE long arm of the law on Sunday seized about 15 suspected fraudsters and forgers who specialized in forging counterfeit documents, including Nigeria’s International Passport

In a raid on Oluwole Market , Lagos Island, the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) State Security Service and the Police swooped on the market, arresting the suspects and taking away equipment they used in their illegal activities.

 

In a raid on Oluwole Market , Lagos Island, the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) State Security Service and the Police swooped on the market, arresting the suspects and taking away equipment they used in their illegal activities.

Dozens of fake Machine Readable Passports, E-Passports, Fake Nigeria’s Coat of Arms, Visas of many countries, fake National Youth Service Corp Call-Up letters, signatures of University Vice- Chancellors,  Registrars as well as Polytechnic Rectors were recovered from the syndicate.

Speaking on the breakthrough, Comptroller of Immigration , Lagos State Command, Abbas Ahmed who held brief for the Comptroller General, Mrs. Rose Uzoma said the insistence by the Federal Government that security agencies must collaborate to ensure internal security was maintained has begun to yield dividends.

“You may recall that the e-passport was introduced in July 2007 by the Federal Government as a solution to the challenges associated with the now rested Machine Readable Passport.

Nigeria e-passport

“These challenges, which were due to the weakness in the overall document design, resulted in some Nigerians holding valid multiple passports.

” However, it has come to our notice that in few instances recently, the e-passport failed to pass litmus test when placed on our Readers/Scanners at the Immigration Control at our entry-exit points suggesting that there were attempts by unscrupulous elements to tamper with the credibility of the e-passport.

“As a result of this we carried out a joint operation on Sunday at 39, Akani Street and 30 Seriki Street in Oluwole Market area of Central Lagos based on intelligence report.

“What we found was mind boggling.

“Although, screening is still on-going by our forensic analysts, we have discovered more than 500 incriminating items in the hard disk of the recovered equipment.

“At this juncture, it is important to point out that from the exhibits gathered, these fraudsters are sophisticated and well informed.

“They are aware when countries introduce new visa vignettes and other security endorsement to aid their operations and update their records accordingly.

” However, we wish to assure Nigerians and the international community that the credibility of the e-passport is still intact. As matter of fact, it is the security measures put in place by the Nigeria Immigration Service that has exposed these criminal activities and hence, the operation.”

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka recently urged the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to safeguard the nation’s international e-passport in order to sustain its credibility.

Soyinka made the call at the Ikoyi passport office of the NIS, Lagos, where he had gone to process the renewal of the travelling documents of members of his family.

The renowned playwright told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the e-passport was like a currency of a country and hence, should be protected.

Rose Uzoama, Nigeria Immigration Comptroller-General

“If the country safeguards her passport, it becomes a precious stone, so those in charge should always keep a close tab on it.
“The international passport is like the currency of a country, you make it what you want it to be,’’ he said.

Soyinka who recently turned 77 noted that from his experience, the country’s e-passport was widely acceptable worldwide because of its unique standard.

According to him, unlike the Machine Readable Passport, the NIS has ensured that the e-passport is not an easy prey for perpetrators of double acquisition.

“The Nigerian Immigration has tried in checking double acquisition and other illegal dealings, but more security measures should be put in place,’’ he said.

 

Source: Odita Sunday, Guardian