The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), yesterday revealed that stringent penalty awaits travellers with fake visa.
It said it has seized over 372 passports from Nigerians involved in visa scam while it will prosecute those arrested henceforth.
The Commission’s chairman, Ekpo Nta said at a one-day seminar on: “Curbing visa scam’, in Lagos, mandated bearers of seized passports to collect them at its head office in Abuja, within two months.
Mr. Nta said failure to collect the confiscated document will lead to the owners being handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Services, which could bar them from travelling abroad.
According to him, the 372 passports were intercepted based on intelligence information on the illegal activities of unauthorised travel agents and other persons involved in visa procurement scam.
The ICPC chairman said:” I want to use this opportunity to invite Nigerians whose passports are seized from different agents by ICPC to visit the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja and collect their passports within the next two months.
“Failure to do so would result in ICPC handing over the passports to the Immigration Service for further necessary action, which might include black listing of the bearers of these passports and barring them from travelling abroad until their status are verified.”
He said embassies and High Commissions in Nigeria should sanitise their visa processes and entrench a culture of integrity in the visa acquisition process in Nigeria.
Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who declared the workshop open, urged the ICPC to carry out enlightenment and advocacy programmes to educate Nigerians to save them from the antics of persons involved in visa scams.
Fashola was represented by the commissioner of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Dr Wale Ahmed.
Also, the minister of foreign affairs, Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali said the activities of some Nigerians involved in visa scam has tarnished the image of the country.