How Evans, Kidnap Gang Members Got Multiple Nigerian Passports – NIS Officers Open Up
The Nigerian Immigration Service, (NIS), has said that the notorious kidnap suspect, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, (alias Evans) and his cronies risk 10 years imprisonment and N2mllion fine each if it is proven that they actually possess multiple Nigerian passports.
Police detectives investigating the confessed billionaire kidnapper, Evans, and his accomplices have discovered that the gang members, including Felix Chukwuma Kanu, have obtained several Nigerian passports.
Malaysian deportee and native of Amaekpo, Ohafia in Abia State, Kanu, claimed ownership of three passports, although in different names and various personal details, but with same photograph
One of his passports bears the name Kanu Felix Chineyerem, born on October 13, 1980, a native or Arochukwu. The passport, issued at the NIS, Ikoyi, has the serial number no A01349427. The second which also has his photograph has the number A02101757, with the name Arinze David, born on April 1, 1973, but issued in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Police detectives have discovered that the second passport has been tampered with since it was originally issued to one Lukmon Fatimon in Ogun State on January 25, 2016. Kanu said he travelled with the fake one in connivance with agents at exit points, who ensured he did not pass through the normal protocol, accentuated by the fact that the system does not check the face of the traveller but his statistics.
But in an interview with Sunday Telegraph, NIS Spokesman, Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Sunday James, said that anyone found in possession of more than one Nigerian passport commits a crime and shall be liable, upon conviction to a 10-year jail term.
Giving a legal basis for this position, he said Section 10 of the Immigration Act states: “Any person who holds or is in unauthorised possession of more than one valid Nigerian Passport, unlawful alters, tampers with or mutilates any passport or any pages thereof,
“Knowingly makes or causes to be made any false statement for purpose of procuring a passport whether for himself or for another person; submits multiple application forms to one or more passport offices with the intention of obtaining multiple passports; knowingly conceals, hides from or fails to disclose to the proper authority the loss of a passport; “Acts as a broker at or in the vicinity of any passport office or elsewhere, for the procurement of a passport, forges or traffics in passports or holds or is in possession of any forged passport knowing the same to be forged, or “Attempts, aids, abets, counsels, procures, connives or conspires with any other person to do any of the acts mentioned in this subsection, Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 10 years or a fine of two million naira or both.”
Speaking against the revelation that some of the cronies of the notorious kidnap suspect claim that they own five passports or more, the Service brushed such assertions aside, stating that, it is impossible to possess more than one e-passport, because such would be stopped at the point of acquisition.
ACI Sunday James, said: “I can tell you categorically that the e-passport is tamper-proof and for any reason, may be of theft, it is still subject to the biometrics of the original owner. So any attempt to tamper with it by replacing the name or passport photograph, or even cloning renders it useless.
“But I can tell you that nobody can use the passport of another person. It is very difficult for anyone to use the e-passport of another person. But we cannot rule out cloning which can be done by fraudsters in some parts of the country.
“It is impossible for any individual to have more than one valid Nigerian e-passport. Though one cannot rule out the Oluwole factor, even after the place has been dismantled in Lagos since March 2005.There could be some other syndicates all over the country who carry out such forgeries,” he said.
According to him, should any individual obtain passport by different names, it would be detected by the immigration system, either at the point of acquisition, or wherever it is presented either at point of entry or exit. Immigration systems make it easy to detect cloned or fake passports.
Explaining further he said that “under stolen or lost document (STLD), an individual can steal someone else’s passport and take it outside the Immigration system to a syndicate group and do something cynical with it; like identity theft or cloning.
“But where such is done, the impersonator cannot pass through our recognised entry routes; that person only uses illegal points. If you steal any person’s passport and the person reports, it will be rendered useless. The person cannot use any of our entry points, because that passport will be detected,” James said.
Also, a Comptroller of Immigration who pleaded anonymity, corroborated this story, saying: “I can categorically tell you that it’s impossible for anyone to have two Nigerian International Passports not to talk of having five with the way the programme is now structured.
“It is not possible. You can do that if the system allows it. For someone bearing the same name to have two International Passports in his name is not possible. At the point of capturing, the acquisition machine, which captures even the fingerprint will definitely expose such person.”
Expatiating on the case of Evans and his cronies that have multiple passports, he said: “Have they presented the passport? Don’t forget the IG said Ghanaian-Nigerian passport. Have the passports been confirmed genuine? Don’t also rule it out; one can get fake passports.”
He said, however, that the gang members and indeed anyone who possesses more than one passport, steals and or alters any existing one will be prosecuted and charged to court and the penalty is 10 years imprisonment as earlier stated.
On activities of master forgers, he said even after raiding and stamping out Oluwole counterfeiters, there is no denying their existence.
“For every step government is taking, the organised crime people are trying to outsmart us. Don’t forget this is their craft. They don’t have any other job than to produce fake document for anyone who wants to patronise them,” he said.