Nine Nigerian stowaways who attempted to travel to Europe through The Gambia have been received by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.
The stowaways, who are between the ages of 21 and 30, were discovered by the captain of the ship they were hiding on and were handed over to the Gambian immigration authorities. They were then repatriated to Nigeria through Asky Airlines.
The Comptroller of NIS, MMIA Command, Mrs. Adesola Adesokan, warned Nigerians against embarking on such dangerous journeys, saying that they are “a deathtrap waiting to happen.”
She also appealed to them to follow the proper channels for travelling abroad.
She said: “We need to change our mentality. When they get there illegally, the first thing is they will begin to hide and when they are caught, they will be deported. Even when they are not caught, they go there to do odd jobs that they cannot be proud of doing to their friends and family members.
“They should look before they leap. Most of the time, it may be a journey of no return. I am not saying you can’t travel abroad, but, go there legally, read your books, apply it in the right way, apply to travel and go and showcase Nigeria as a very intelligent nation in the comity of nations.”
One of the stowaways, Abdul Yakubu, said that he was lured into the trip by a friend who promised him that he would be in Europe within five days. He said that he lost N70,000 (approximately US$150) to the person who arranged the trip.
Another stowaway, Daniel Vincent, said that he was shocked to learn that he had not even left the coast of Africa when he was discovered by the ship’s crew.
He said that the experience was “very regrettable” and that he would not encourage anyone else to try it.