23 Nigerians deported over immigration offences in UK

The Government of the United Kingdom has deported 23 Nigerians for committing immigration-related offences in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 23 Nigerians deported arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA) Lagos at about 6.a.m on Friday.

The deportees,who are all males, were brought back in a chartered aircraft.

DSP Joseph Alabi, the Spokesman of the Lagos Airport Police Command, confirmed the development to NAN.

The deportees were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and the Police.

Also on ground to receive them were officials  of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

NAN gathered that the deportees were profiled by immigration authorities and given stipends to facilitate their transportation to their respective states.

The Italian Government on March 8, deported 37 Nigerians from the country for similar reasons.

[Pulse]

British envoy reveals UK has over 1,000 Nigerian inmates on death row

The UK on Monday appealed to Nigeria to abolish the death penalty, saying that capital punishment cheapened human life. as they also revealed that the UK had over 1,000 Nigerian inmates on death row.

The UK made the appeal in a statement issued by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, on the 2016 World Day against the Death Penalty.

He noted that Nigeria has over 1000 prisoners on death row, the highest in Africa.

Arkwright said that the British Government believed the death penalty had no place in the modern world and its use undermined human dignity.

According to him, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, adding that any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.

He explained that the past two decades had seen a significant rise in the number of countries that had abolished capital punishment.

He said, “I am concerned therefore that Nigeria, a model for democracy in Africa, still retains the death penalty in its laws.

“In 2013 Nigeria carried out four executions, the first since 2006.

“At the time of the execution, all four individuals still had appeals to halt their executions, a violation of international law and I believe Nigerian law too.”

He said while no death sentence had been implemented since 2013, Nigeria had more than 1,000 prisoners on death row, the highest number of death sentences in Africa.

He said, “In 2015, Nigeria recorded 171 death sentences. This year too, there have been death sentences handed down by Nigerian courts.

“The High Commissioner pointed out that capital punishment fuelled hatred, extremism and terrorism.

“With the security challenges Nigeria faces today, some argue that retaining the death penalty is a just response to terrorism.

“My response to this view is that there is evidence judicial killing fuels hatred, extremism and terrorism. The real risk is that executing terrorists can generate many more to take their place.”

Arkwright explained that many African countries had abolished capital punishment adding, the trajectory was very much towards abolition across the continent.

He said, “African nations like Togo, Burundi, Gabon, Congo and Madagascar have recently abolished the death penalty.

“Niger, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea voted in support of the most recent UN General Assembly resolution on the death penalty moratorium for the first time in 2014.

“To date, 35 out of 54 African countries are already abolitionist in law or practice, from 21 in 1997.”

According to him, Nigeria, the ‘giant’ of Africa, should also be a leading vanguard for the abolition.

He said, “Today is another opportunity for Nigeria to commit to expunging capital punishment from its statutes; this will greatly improve Nigeria’s international standing, including on the Human Rights index.”

He added that the UK was working with the civil society to step up engagement on this subject and restore the sanctity to life that capital punishment takes away.

October 10 is set aside by countries around the world to commemorate the World Day against the Death Penalty.

The day is set aside to reflect on and act on the urgent need to abolish capital punishment worldwide.

[NAN]

Court in UK jails Nigerian trafficker, 22 years, on forced prostitution charges

The United Kingdom’s Isleworth Crown Court on Thursday sentenced a Nigerian woman, Franca Asemota, to 22 years in jail after she was found guilty of attempting to traffic Nigerian girls through Heathrow Airport to work as sex workers in brothels across Europe.
Ms. Asemota, 38, was found guilty on Wednesday of a 12-count charge that includes conspiracy to traffic persons for sexual exploitation, trafficking persons outside of the UK for sexual exploitation, and assisting unlawful immigration.
She was part of a criminal network that trafficked girls, boys and women from Nigeria to Europe using threats to guarantee their compliance.
 
 
Ms. Asemota, who was identified as a trafficking suspect in 2012, fled from Italy to Nigeria when some of her co-conspirators were arrested by Immigration Enforcement investigators.
 
She spent time in Nigeria before the National Crime Agency (NCA) tracked her down to Nigeria.
 
In an operation co-ordinated by the NCA, she was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Benin City in March 2015.
Once her identity was confirmed, Ms. Asemota was extradited back to the UK in January this year to be tried at court.
 
After a four-week trial, the Isleworth Crown Court found her guilty of conspiracy to traffic for sexual exploitation and assisting unlawful immigration.
The head of the Immigration Enforcement crime team, David Fairclough, described Ms. Asemota as the “lynchpin of a trafficking ring which targeted vulnerable young women in Nigeria, promising them a brighter future working in Europe”.

Mr. Fairclough said it however became clear soon that what she claimed to be doing was far different, as the victims, some who were as young as 13, were told they would be sold into prostitution.
 
“Asemota travelled with the girls in order to threaten them and keep them in line. Trafficking is a despicable crime, as this case shows. We work closely with our law enforcement colleagues internationally to identify the criminal gangs responsible and put them before the courts,” Mr. Fairclough said.
 
The head of the NCA’s UK Human Trafficking Centre, Martin French, said: “Franca Asemota and her criminal network took advantage of these vulnerable young women in some of the worst ways possible. They promised them a better life but in reality treated them as nothing more than a commodity to be sold into slavery.
 
“Asemota thought she could evade arrest by fleeing Europe and hiding in Nigeria. But the NCA’s partnerships give us global reach and means international borders are no barrier to justice.
 
“This conviction by the court is the result of many years of dogged investigation and co-operation between the NCA, Immigration Enforcement and our law enforcement colleagues both at home and overseas.”
Ms. Asemota’s gang targeted teenage girls in remote Nigerian villages, some of whom had never left their home area before, deceiving them that educational work awaited them in Europe.
 
“The girls would stay with her before leaving, and in interviews with specialist officers from the NCA’s Vulnerable Persons Team many of the girls told how they referred to her as Auntie Franca.
“Asemota travelled with the girls on flights from Lagos, Nigeria, to Heathrow, between August 2011 and May 2012, with the intention of reaching France. They remained airside during the transit at Heathrow so were not subject to Border Force passport checks.
 
“However, the trafficking attempts were prevented when French Authorities identified the girl’s false documents on arrival in France. When they were then returned to the UK, Border Force officers carried out further investigations and the case was quickly referred to Immigration Enforcement criminal investigations.”
 
 
Five of Asemota’s victims gave evidence against her during the trial. One of them was rescued from prostitution in Montpellier, France, during a joint operation by Immigration Enforcement and the NCA.
 
The cases were part of Operation Hudson, an Immigration Enforcement-led investigation targeting a number organised crime groups suspected of trafficking young women, via London, for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
 

 

Two other persons were convicted in 2013 as part of Operation Hudson. Odosa Usiobaifu, of Enfield, London, and David Osawaru, of Benin City, were sentenced to 14 years and nine years respectively.
[Premium Times]

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