48 Deported Nigerians from UK Over Immigration-Related Offences Stranded at Airport
No fewer than 48 Nigerians were deported by the United Kingdom Government on Wednesday over immigration-related offences.
Our correspondents learnt that the deportees – 44 males and 4 females – came aboard a chartered flight, Titan Airways no ZT3931, at 8am at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The deportees were said to have been stranded at the airport waiting for families and friends to come for them.
It was gathered that while 26 of the deportees had passports, 22 others were issued Emergency Travel Certificates by the Nigerian High Commission in the UK.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Immigration service, Mr. Ekpedeme King, who confirmed the development, said some of the deportees had overstayed their visas.
“They were deported for immigration-related offences. One of these is that some of them have overstayed their visas. It is a part of our duty to receive Nigerian deportees from foreign countries,” he added.
Other officials at the MMIA, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the 48 deportees had nothing to do with the 29,000 Nigerians that the UK was planning to deport to the country at a later date.
Another immigration source also told one of our correspondents that the deportees would not be prosecuted since their issues were not criminal.
He said, “The immigration service received their documents, and profiled them when they arrived at the airport. They were deported based on immigration-related offences. We cannot hold and prosecute them since the offences were not criminal in nature.
“All we did was to get their profiles and release them. Again, most of them were violent as a result of the aggression of returning abruptly from the overseas. So, keeping them with us was not a favourable option. Some of them had contacted their families to take them away.”
It was gathered that the British Broadcasting Corporation also reported on Wednesday that a plane carrying about 500 Nigerian deportees would land at the MMIA in Lagos. The BBC, in an interview with some of the deportees, reported that the people were not willing to come back.
A deportee was said to have been arrested by the British police, and was not allowed to take his belongings before being deported.
“A few others who said they do not have relatives in the country are stranded,” the report added.
However, the NIS authorities clarified that only 48 deportees were received at the airport on Wednesday.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had said the UK must ensure that those being deported were really Nigerians, medically fit to travel, and those who had a role to play in the country and would fit into the society.