Immigration Probes Alleged Extortion of US-Based Nigerian Prof. Moyo Okediji at Seme Border

In a disconcerting incident at Seme Border, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is currently under investigation for an alleged extortion case involving Professor Moyo Okediji, a renowned Arts and History professor at the University of Texas, United States.

The professor shared his distressing encounter on Facebook, recounting an unsettling experience with Immigration officers that not only cost him $500, but also led to subsequent harassment by suspected police officers.

Professor Okediji detailed his arrival in Lagos via road from Ghana, expressing enthusiasm about exploring Nigeria’s scenic landscape.

However, his journey took a distressing turn at the Seme Border, where he was confronted by Immigration officers.

Despite his compliance with their search request, he claimed the officers confiscated $500 from his luggage and demanded an additional $40, insisting on being “settled.”

The professor explained that their justification revolved around a contraband check, with his expired Nigeria passport becoming a point of contention.

Despite apologizing and expressing his intent to renew it, the officers insisted on being settled.

In fear of potential consequences, Okediji handed over $40, only to later discover an additional $500 missing.

The ordeal, however, didn’t end at the border.

Upon reaching the FESTAC Mile 2 Motor Park, he faced gun-toting police officers demanding identifications.

Despite presenting various forms of identification, he found himself thoroughly searched, surrounded by approximately 10 officers.

The situation took a dire turn, alleviated only by the intervention of a group of Igbo youths numbering up to 100, who rescued him from further harassment.

The Nigeria Immigration Service, represented by spokesperson Dotun Aridegbe, acknowledged the incident, confirming an on-going investigation.

Balogun Gboyega, the Divisional Police Officer at FESTAC, encouraged Professor Okediji to file an official report to properly identify the suspected officers.

Gboyega emphasized that while police had the authority to conduct searches, it should not involve intimidation or harassment.

This incident was not Professor Okediji’s first challenging experience in Nigeria.

On Facebook, he had previously shared about sleeping at the airport for several days during a 1992 journey to the USA.

These revelations provided additional context to his recent encounter, raising pertinent questions about the safety and security of travellers in the country.

The alleged extortion and harassment of Professor Okediji underscore concerns about the conduct of Immigration and Police officers at border checkpoints.

As investigations unfold, there is a pressing need for a comprehensive review of security practices and accountability measures within law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and dignity of travellers.