The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has warned those seeking to travel abroad, especially desperate young Nigerian, to undertake business, academic, leisure or medical trips, to be wary of using touts and dubious travel agencies in the procurement of visas.
Spokesman of the commission, Folu Olamiti, said the ICPC is set to investigate corrupt processes in visa acquisition as a result of recent arrests of culprits throughout the country.
He said most of these dubious agents usually hang around the vicinity of embassies and feed their clients with all sorts of false information, including claiming that they would not be required to physically appear for visa interviews at the embassies or high commissions.
“Our investigations show that these agents usually make mouth-watering claims of procuring lucrative jobs, citizenships and academic placements abroad for clients in addition to procuring visas in record time,” the ICPC said.
It said further that the dubious agents and touts offer services which include facilitation for the acquisition of international passports, assistance in filling their clients’ details in online visa application forms and the provision of required support travel documents.
These support documents are often times forged and include cloned bank statements, birth certificates, fake or real admission letters from foreign schools and invitation letters for professional, religious and academic conferences; business concerns or from family and friends.
According to the commission, the agents invariably provide misleading and incorrect personal data including wrong addresses, next- of-kin for emergency contact, employment records and referees.
“These improper documentations, in this era of international terrorist activities, can lead to unintended hardships for their clients through discrepancies in data stored on their e-passport, driving licence, credit cards, school records and curriculum vitae,” it warned.
The commission further added that travelers, agents and anyone who collaborates with these fake agents risk being arrested or sanctioned.
“For avoidance of doubt intending travellers should contact reputable Travel Agencies, the Nigerian Immigration Service or embassies directly for clarification,” the ICPC added.