Nigeria: Immigration arrests suspected passport forgery syndicate.

De Master Yoda

Immigration arrests suspected passport forgery syndicate.

From: The guardian.Monday, October 13, 2008
OFFICIALS of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have recovered N10 million fake Nigerian currencies from a passport forgery gang in Wappa area of Kano State.

Comptroller-General of the Service, Mr. Chukwurah Udeh, while parading the suspects before journalists in Abuja at the weekend, gave the names of the eight-man gang as: Ibrahim Hussaini Bappa, Husaini Taye Ahmed, Kabiru Pele, Haruna Yarbawa, Abdu Baba, Yau Lagos, Subairu Jafaru and Ahmed Sanni.

According to Udeh, the suspected fraudsters offered immigration operatives about N3 million after being nabbed so that they would be let off the hook, but the officials rejected the offer.

The forged currency notes, which were all in the N1,000 denomination all bore the same serial number and were neatly packed with paper wrappings.

His added: "The irony is that these crooks go to unsuspecting villagers, collect their money and promise to take them to Mecca and what they do is total package deals, promising to take them to Mecca and bring them back."

Udeh, who added that the gang also specialised in the forgery of Nigerian travel documents, including the recently launched electronic passport (e-passport), cautioned Nigerians to be wary of the likes of the suspected fraudsters, to avoid being duped.

According to the Immigration Comptroller General, the activities of the suspects were uncovered after the Service received disturbing information from the Kano State Command during the last Umrah exercise that required Moslem faithful to go to Jeddah to carry out their religious pilgrimage.

He stressed: "We began to get information from our office in Kano that our travel documents were being tampered with, so we became very interested. And arising from that we asked that this information should be further probed to enable us unravel or get details."

"But of course you will recall that before the launch of the electronic passport, we had put specialist equipment in place in all our international points of entry to enable us process passengers that present themselves with the electronic passport or with any of our travel documents, that is the electronic passport and the machine-readable passport," he added.

"We arrested about six of them with the machine-readable passport, passengers that have substituted pages in their passport and some of the machine-readable passports we picked are here. We picked them with tampered pages, substituted pages and so on," he stated.

The Immigration boss said eight of them were arrested during the exercise and items including Niger Republic passports, the old non machine-readable passport and machine-readable passports were recovered from the gang.

He said the Service would continue investigations to ensure that the likes of the suspects are completely put out of business in order to provide respite to honest and innocent people seeking to acquire genuine travel documents.