Five Nigerians face jail term for illegally entering Liberia

LIS Boss, Col. Robert Buddy

Five Nigerians arrested last month in Liberia may be jailed for two years if they don’t pay a $1,000 fine each, Liberian immigration authorities have said.

The Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) had arrested the Nigerians for what it termed “illegal entry” into the country.

Speaking to a team of reporters recently, Abraham Dorley, director of press & public affairs at LIS, said three males and two females were arrested around the Loguatuo border in Nimba County. Loguatuo is a town near the border with Ivory Coast in the northeast.

According to Dorley, the Nigerians arrived in Liberia on July 30, 2021, and were subsequently arrested and have been undergoing investigation to ascertain why they did not use the official border point.

LIS officials said the Nigerians had no contact persons in Liberia, and that only one of them had a valid passport, which wasn’t stamped from the Ivorian side.

Citing the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia, Dorley said: “You either go to jail for two years or probably pay a fine of US$ 1000 each into government’s account.”

He, however, noted that with a harmonious working relationship with the Nigerian community in the country, the commissioner-general thought it expedient to inform the Nigerian embassy in capital city Monrovia about the action of its citizens.

The Nigerian embassy informed LIS that the concerned individuals said they came to stay with another individual identified as Matthew, who, according to Dorley, has denied knowledge of them.

He also said LIS was working closely with its Nigerian counterparts to ensure that the Nigerians were deported soonest.

“I know that one may be surprised that Nigeria is a member of ECOWAS, but that should not give anyone the go ahead to enter any country illegally,” he said.

Liberia has about 176 entry points, with security presence at 45 border points, which means 131 others remain vulnerable, according to the Liberian Observer.

Nigerians, Burkinabe, and other West African nationals had several times been arrested using some of these entry points and deported. LIS has vowed to monitor these borders henceforth to prevent such entries

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