Mr. Macaulay Akpezi Isaac has alleged an officer with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), ASP Lanre Adebayo, attached to Seme Border, of assaulting him for refusing to give him a N500 bribe.
Isaac said that he was on his way to Benin Republic for a business meeting on the 8th of June 2022, when the incident happened.
Isaac has since gone to a Nigerian human rights advocacy organisation, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), to implore them to assist him in seeking justice.
Isaac narrated to RULAAC that as he approached the Nigeria Immigration at the ECOWAS Gate, one of the Immigration Officers demanded the sum of N500.00 from him and he informed the officer that he wanted to stamp his documents at the ECOWAS building since he had all his documents complete and his International Passport was still valid.
The officer allegedly insisted that Isaac must give him the N500.00 he demanded or he would not let him pass.
The Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma said: “This argument was going on, another Immigration officer came and asked Isaac to pay the N500.00 that his colleague asked from him. That third officer, identified as ASP Lanre Adebayo came and slapped him on his right ear and repeatedly assaulted him. This continued until a senior officer intervened. Isaac lodged complaints on this incident at the Seme Border Patrol Office and Seme Border Command Office the same day. When the officers put a call across to the gate, the other two officers confirmed that ASP Lanre Adedayo was the person who assaulted Isaac.”
Nwanguma said that the officers repeatedly invited the three Immigration officers, but they failed till date to honour the invitation.
“Due to the injury inflicted on Isaac, he went for medical examination and treatment. According to the doctor’s report, his eardrum has been damaged due to the severe beating he received from the Immigration officers. The Nigeria Immigration Service is responsible according to the act establishing it for, the control of persons entering or leaving Nigeria, issuance of travel documents, to bona fide Nigerians in and outside Nigeria, issuance of residence permits to foreigners in Nigeria, border surveillance and patrol and enforcement of laws and regulations with which they have been directly charged.”
According to Nwanguma, RULAAC was seriously concerned that the Immigration Officers mentioned above deviated from their core duties as outlined above and resorted to demanding bribe and brutalising an innocent citizen for refusing, or being unable to offer bribe.
“RULAAC condemns the actions of the immigration office responsible and calls for a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation of their conduct with a view to bringing them to justice if found culpable. The perpetrators must not only be punished according to service rules and relevant laws, they must also be made to apologise to the victim and bear the full cost of his medical expenses,” said Nwanguma.
He further stated: “RULAAC hereby calls on the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service to urgently intervene in this matter and order a prompt, unbiased and credible investigation with a view to ensuring that ASP Lanre and all others involved are brought to justice, for deterrence. Adequate compensation should also be paid to the victim, including ensuring that the perpetrators bear the full cost of his medical treatment for the damage to his eardrum and the cost of purchasing a hearing aid. RULAAC calls on the Comptroller General of Immigration to order an investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption by his personnel at the Seme Border. Allegations of bribery and intimidation of travellers at the borders are rife and doing further damage to the poor image of Nigeria among other nations. Officers posted at Nigerian borders must be professionals, above board and alive to their duties of ensuring that only legal and identifiable people with real and legitimate mission enter Nigeria, especially at this critical and troubling period of insecurity.”
When securitynewsalert.com contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Amos Okpu on the matter, he said he was not aware of it. He promised to find out the facts and respond appropriately, but as of the time of filing in this report, he was yet to do so.
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