US tourists allege N125,000 extortion at Seme Border(NIS) Nigerian Immigration Service, American Politics, Headlines Sunday, March 5th, 2017
Mudiaga Affe, Calabar
Two citizens of the United States of America on expedition to Nigeria on Thursday accused officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service of extorting N125,000 from them at the Seme Border in Lagos State despite having complete travel documents.
The US citizens, who identified themselves as Dr Randy McKinney and Lana McKinney, arrived in Calabar, Cross River State, on two motorbikes after spending over seven months on the road from Alaska (US) to Nigeria.
McKinney described their experience at the Seme Border as a “horrendous nightmare,” stating that the immigration officials at the Nigerian border with Republic of Benin were “thieves.”
The duo noted with anger that several immigration officials at the Seme Border had in the course of their clearance insisted on receiving bribes before releasing their passports.
He said the immigration officials were tarnishing the image of Nigeria, calling on the service to do something about the conduct of its officials.
He said, “Crossing the Nigerian border from Republic of Benin was one of the most horrendous nightmares we have ever experienced. Officials at the border are thieves. We spent N125,000 to cross into the country despite having all our complete documents. If they take a look at your passport, you must give them money to get it back. I have not seen that kind of thing in my life.
“I think all the thieves congregate in the Nigerian border. From the closest Togo to Benin border posts, there was no problem. The Nigerian end of the Nigeria/Benin border is full of crooks. Something needs to be done.”
McKinney said they were, however, excited to be in Nigeria despite being warned not to come.
He explained that they had come to Nigeria to carry out medical expedition to treat dysentery in some remote villages in Cross River State.
“We are excited to be in Nigeria. Although we were warned not to come, I must state that the people are nice, even the security officials at the checkpoints within the country,” he said.
When contacted, the Service Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Mr. S. James, requested further details from the tourists so as to properly address the matter.
James said, “We would like them to give us details because it is this kind of information that will assist us to clear the rot in the system. This kind of experience is not good for the service. We need to portray a good image of the country at all entry points.”
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