No fewer than three Togolese were on Wednesday, arrested in Iseyin town in Oyo state, after allegedly bribing their ways to enter Nigeria through Saki town.
DAILY POST gathered that the Togolese labourers were intercepted at Odo-Omu area of Iseyin Local Government after they escaped border patrols from the Republic of Benin through Saki and arrived Iseyin on Tuesday.
Our correspondent gathered that the trio of Commando Kwasi, Eberivie Isiaq, both male adults and Kemi Terivie, a female mother of one went to Cotonou, Republic of Benin in January.
They, however, returned to Nigeria yesterday after several weeks when the federal government of Nigeria had announced the closure of its borders due to the outbreak of Coronavirus also known as COVID-19.
Our correspondent gathered from an indigene of Iseyin that each of the Togolese allegedly paid the sum of two thousand naira to officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service in Saki town to enter Nigeria.
The source said, “Some people from Benin Republic came into Nigeria today through Saki. They arrived at our area this evening. They said the officials at the border collected 2,000 naira per person as bribe to gain entrance to Saki. I know this can be very risky for our state. I spoke with them one on one. Without being tested for that matter. So, I don’t know if you have any means to alert the government to caution those officials there. Some of them are scattered to their various houses in Iseyin here.
“I’m trying to be careful of my head as well because I know them and if I mention them plainly, they’ll know it came from me. Some alighted at some villages in Saki while others at Iseyin. They are Béninois and Togolais who help people in farming e.g making of ridges and hoe. They also have their personal farms as well. They traveled to their country for brief holiday but were caught in the lockdown”.
It was gathered that some of the residents who were living in panic, raised the alarm and alerted the security agencies and drew the attention of the Iseyin local government authority. The source noted that this led to the arrest of the trio on Wednesday.
Chairman, Iseyin Local Government, Mufutau Abilawon alongside representatives of Aseyin of Iseyin, Ikolaba of Iseyin, Chief Ismahil Odubiyi and members of COVID-19 local committee were at the residence of the foreigners to ascertain their travel history and medical condition on Wednesday.
Abilawon said “We rushed here when we heard of the information to ascertain its veracity and quickly nip the spread in the bud. As directed by Oyo State governor, we are not to cover any case of illegal incursion of foreigners or COVID-19 case as the government is working day and night to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
“Members of the COVID-19 committee are here with us and they have questioned the individuals to know their health status and travel history, but we are not stopping at this, we need to have an emergency meeting with all Community Chiefs (Baales) tomorrow morning to warn them from harbouring foreigners that just came in till this crisis is over.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Oyo State Command, Olufemi Adetunji confirmed the arrest of the trio in Iseyin.
Adetunji, in a telephone conversation with DAILY POST however noted that the trio did not pass through Iseyin in Oyo state as being speculated.
He said that the trio passed through Ilesha-Baruba in Kwara state and that none of the officers in the command was involved in collection of bribe from the Togolese to beat their way into Nigeria.
“Yes. I have been briefed. They said that they passed through Ilesha Baruba in Kwara state and not Saki in Oyo state. Based on the information I have, none of our officers collected anything from them to enter into the country.”