Eleven Nigerians including two children accused of using “fake” immigration documents in an attempt to leave the country, yesterday appeared before the Monrovia City Court on charges of forgery, illegal imposition of immigration’s documents and criminal facilitation.
The charges were pressed by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
The incident took place early November, at the Yekepa port of entry, in Nimba County, where they were trying to make their way out of the country.
Yesterday’s appearance was their second time at the Temple of Justice under heavy BIN escort.
When they first appeared last Monday, they were made to sit all day on the prisoner’s bench, at the Monrovia City Court.
They were later taken from the courtroom and placed in a parked BIN vehicle that drove them away.
Apparently, they may have been ineligible for bail due to being classified as ‘escape risk’, and they were remanded to prison until yesterday.
The crimes are baliable offence under Liberian law, however.
The times they have appeared, at the City Court, not a single piece of luggage was even seen with them or in the vehicle that always drove them to the Temple of Justice.
More besides, the BIN’s authorities have not been able to explain how long the Nigerians had lived in Liberia, or what kinds of activities were they involved into, while residing in the country.
However, in an exclusive interview with BIN’s director for public affairs, Abraham Dorley, he said, during preliminary investigation, 10 of the accused pleaded guilty to the charges.
They told the BIN’s investigators”Everything was done voluntarily; we acted upon the ordered of Vincent Okike Ago. We regret and we do apologize,” Dorley quoted his investigators.
Ago is believed to be the main person behind the sale of fraudulent immigration documents in the country, according to the public affairs director.
If the “fake documents” would have passed inspections, the 11 persons would have been able to leave the country legally.
But, Dorley maintained that “luckily, the immigration officials processing the documents became concerned and made closer checked.”
He continued with his explanation by saying, “It was during verification, they found out that the documents were forged, in an attempt to allow them “imposters” to get through immigration.”
“When the officers took them aside,” Dorley claimed “questioned them, it was when they discovered that their documents were fake.”
“They all admitted under interrogation that the documents were forged and that is when they were charged with the offense of traveling with fraudulent they are not entitled to,” Dorley further said.
“It was how the immigration officers therefore charged them with possession of a fraudulent document for it,” the public affairs reiterated.