11 Nigerian stowaways and a Cameroonian who are aged between 24 and 40 years, have been rescued by the Liberian Immigration Service and handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
The stowaways identified as Seyi Popoola, Precious Uwalogho, Ayetimiyi Kelvin, Stephen Junior, Emmanuel Benjamin, Balogun Gbenga, Temiotan Adewale, Igiebor Stephen, Hamza John, Alfred Ese and Ogechi Chika, had entered the basement of a cargo ship named Ophelia Panama, at Tin Can Island Port in Apapa, Lagos on the 7th of September, thinking it was heading to Europe.
After spending some days in the basement, they decided to present themselves to the crew of the ship after running out of food.
They were however physically tortured and sprayed with chemicals before being dumped into the sea by the crew.
Two of the stowaways died, while 11 sustained various degrees of injuries before being rescued by Liberian fishermen who handed them to their Immigration service.
Nine Liberian Immigration Officers led by Captain Mark Weaye handed them to the Comptroller Immigration, MMIA, Mrs. Adeola Adesokan.
Narrating their ordeal, one of the victims said;
“When the ship was moving after four days our food finished and so we wanted help from the crew. Unfortunately, the crew started spraying us chemicals which were burning our skins while asking us to jump into the high seas.”
Receiving the stowaways, the Comptroller Immigration Service, MMIA, Lagos, commended the Liberian government and officers of the Liberian Immigration service for rescuing them.
She also said they would be handed over to the appropriate authorities after being profiled. Adeola said;
“Their story is very harrowing, very pitiable, there was hot water flushing , thrown into the high sea and left to destiny. On behalf of the Comptroller-General, Isah Jere Idris, we want to thank the Commander General of Immigration for Liberia for their kind gesture.”