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  • Updated: November 17, 2020

Nigerian Airport Officials Create New Method To Scam Travelers

A researcher, Babajide Ojo, has revealed how airport officials at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria, tried to scam his mother while trying to board a plane. Ojo said officials at the MMIA are extorting unsuspecting travellers by defacing passports.

Ojo said the airport officials collected his mother's passport, taking it away for few minutes. The passport was collected after the luggage section, with the official disappearing into a room to 'confirm' the passport.

After the official resurfaced and the passport was handed to her, Ojo's mother approached her airline counter, upon tendering her passport, she was told her Visa didn't scan. The airport officials blamed a red ink on the visa for the failure to scan - upon close examination, the red ink showed words like "NO OK" or "NOT Ok".

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To extort Ojo's mother, the officials told her that maybe her visa was rejected or maybe she overstayed her visa. Ojo's 64-year-old mother was certain the red ink wasn't on her visa before one of the airport officials took it from her.

It took the intervention of Ojo's uncle who drove his mother to the airport to detect the difference between a rejected visa and a visa that was defaced by the airport officials. After his Uncle started making threats, the airport officials scanned the same visa they said couldn't scan.

Here Is The Full Encounter

While narrating the situation surrounding the passport issue, Babajide said, "The latest fraudulent scheme at the Muritala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria:  The experience of my 69-year old Mom over the weekend.

"Mom appeared at the initial luggage section to weigh. Thereafter, one of the staff at that point collected her passport for an 'initial check'. Instead of returning it at the spot (I believe), the individual took it inside a room for 'confirmation'. Upon return of the passport.

"She approached her airline counter, right around this same luggage section, to check-in. Suddenly, they 'realized' that her visa wouldn't scan. They all took a look and saw that the visa has been defaced slightly with red ink which looked like NO OK or NOT OK.

"At this point, a couple of staff from that initial luggage point have joined in the commotion, suggesting absurd but believable explanations for this. "Aaaa Mommy, maybe your visa was revoked", "Aaaa maybe you overstayed your visa" and so on.

"She was sure that ink was NOT on the visa at least three weeks ago when we booked her flight- she had to check its expiration date then. At this point, one of them started taking her passport around on the pretext of helping. The real ones already know where this would end.

"See, the con here is to deface your visa, albeit slightly, and get you rattled. Then we will all be confused together on the solution. In the end, we will offer to just help you get through in return for "something".

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"That first guy had no reason to take her passport away. She had to quickly call our uncle who just dropped her off. Luckily he was still around the airport premises. When he listened to what had happened and their suggestions, he knew straight away it was a con and gave it to them really hot.

"A quick google search would tell you what a revoked visa looks like. It will contain the provision you violated and most times you'd even get an email. He also had to double-check her previous travel tickets to show them she did not overstay at any time.

"Besides, how can a revoked visa or an overstay result in "NO OK" on a visa. Lol. Once he started making calls...(trying to call me not some superior, lol). :Aaaa daddy don't worry we will fix it. Ko le to yen nau.". The visa wey no scan before suddenly dey okay to check-in.

"The bottom line is, don't let anyone take your passport away. And if they insist, make sure you specifically show them nothing is on your visa and they must not come back with any ink on it.

"Please tell your mamas and papas as well. They would probably be more successful in pulling this fast one on old people. First-time travelers, especially students may also be vulnerable. That's the gist. Felt I should share to help others."

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Olalekan Fakoyejo
Olalekan Fakoyejo

Fakoyejo Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ)....

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