Home Governance Liberia Turns Over 11 Stowaways …As Nigeria Praises Government’s Rescue Mission

Liberia Turns Over 11 Stowaways …As Nigeria Praises Government’s Rescue Mission

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: The Liberian Immigration Service (LIS), has handed over 11 Nigerian stowaways, rescued on the high sea to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), in Lagos, Nigeria.

The stowaways were said to have entered the basement of a cargo ship, named: “Ophelia Panama,” at Tin Can Island, Port in Apapa, Lagos, on the 7th of September, believing the ship was heading straight to Europe.

Reports say after some days, the stowaways said they ran out of food and to avoid starving to death, they presented themselves to the crew of the ship, who physically tortured and threw them into the sea after spraying them with chemicals.

According to reports, two of the 13 stowaways were reported to have died in the process, while the surviving 11 sustained various degrees of injuries and were rescued by Liberian fishermen and handed to their Immigration service.

Three of the stowaways narrated their ordeal:
“When the ship was moving after four days our food was finished and so we wanted help from the crew. Unfortunately, the crew started spraying us with chemicals which were burning our skins while demanding us to jump into the high seas.”

While receiving the stowaways, the Comptroller of Immigration Service, MMIA, Lagos, Mrs. Adeola Adesokan, thanked the Liberian government and officers of the Liberian Immigration Service for rescuing the stowaways, describing the act as a noble and diplomatic gesture.

After proper profiling, she said they would be released to the appropriate authority.
“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 Controller General, Isah Jere Idris, we want to thank the Commander General of immigration for Liberia for their kind gesture”.

The names of the stowaways are Seyi Popoola, Precious Uwalogho, Ayetimiyi Kelvin, Stephen Junior, Emmanuel Benjamin, Balogun Gbenga, Temiotan Adewale, Igiebor Stephen, Hamza John, Alfred Ese and Ogechi Chika and one Cameroonian.

In September, the Liberia Maritime Authority said it was exerting all efforts for the captain and crew members of the Panama flagged vessel, MV Ophelia, that allegedly cast overboard more than a dozen people are apprehended and prosecuted in accordance with Liberian and international laws.

The incident is said to have involved about 12 stowaways, claiming to be Nigerians who were found hidden on the ship. Two of them are reported to have died in the process.

According to a release issued by Gola M. Traub, Director of Corporate Communications, Maritime Commissioner, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, has said LiMA has initiated a full investigation of the incident and will ensure that everyone involved is made to account.

On Monday, September 12, local fishermen off the Coast of Grand Kru in southeastern Liberia rescued the men. Preliminary investigation showed that they were stowaways aboard the Panama flagged vessel with IMO Number 9228083.

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