The Police Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has arrested and arraigned one Abioye Abolaji, 53, on 11 counts bordering on alleged forgery, obtaining money by false pretence, false representation and stealing.
The unit spokesperson, SP Eyitayo Johnson, confirmed the arrest of the suspect in a statement on Thursday.
He said the arrest of the suspect was in furtherance to a petition from the Diplomatic Security Services Regional Security office at the United States Consulate General in Lagos.
Johnson said, “The arrest was in furtherance to a petition which requested discrete investigation into forged documents submitted by certain C-2 Visa applicants to the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit of USCG.
“C-2 Visa is a NIV category reserved for participants at United Nations Conference/Events.
“There were investigations by USCG and PSFU into 77 C-2 applications from 24 organisations in Nigeria to attend two separate conferences, namely, 67th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and UN 2023 Water Conference, scheduled to take place in New York between 22nd and 24th March, 2023.”
The spokesman added that most of the applicants were not qualified for the visa classification they applied for.
“It revealed that most of the applicants are not qualified for the visa classification they applied for because the applicants provided forged UN invitation letters.
“The applicants, who claimed to be employees of Osun & Sons Agricultural Venture, Ray D. Exclusive Electrical Contractor, or ACE Technoresources Integrated Services; planned to attend UN Water Conference as a representative or nominee of these organisations.
“But investigations revealed that none of the organisations is in consultative status with the UN and that the employment of most of the applicants had no bearing on either of the referenced UN conferences,” he said.
According to him, further information gathered during police interviews of the visa applicants led to the arrest of the suspect, who is the arrowhead of a notorious syndicate that specialises in visa fraud.
Johnson said the Commissioner of Police, PSFU, CP Adepoju Ilori, had advised prospective visa applicants to desist from patronising document vendors or visa racketeers for the processing of category B-1 and B-2 visas or any other travel documents.
He said the CP further encouraged applicants to research the procedure/requirements of visa for their intended country of destination or to approach the Diplomatic Section of PSFU for guidance in order not to fall victim to visa racketeers.
According to the spokesperson, the unit is currently on the trail of other members of the syndicate.