The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has confirmed the age of the alleged victim of organ harvesting, David Nwamini, in a case involving former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Comptroller General of NIS, Mr Isah Idris, disclosed that the said kidney donor was 21, and not 15 as claimed.
The London Metropolitan Police said it had arrested Senator Ekweremadu and his wife over allegations of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting.
While the Met police said Nwamini was 15, a UK court ordered that the couple be remanded in custody till July 7 while investigations continued into the allegations against them.
This has sparked concerns from various parts of the country with many sending goodwill messages to the Ekweremadus and others saying the alleged victim took advantage of the couple to claim asylum in the UK.
Amid the controversy over Nwamini’s age, the immigration chief explained the procedures involved before Nwamini was issued an international passport by the NIS.
He stressed that there was no falsification of age on the passport issued by the immigration as claimed, adding that the agency followed the due process.
According to Idris, insinuations that the NIS did not properly vet the said victim’s documents presented by Nwamini are mere fabrications aimed at tarnishing the image of the NIS.
He recounted that Nwamini applied and paid for the enhanced e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the Gwagwalada Passport Office in Abuja for an interview in November last year.
The NIS boss stated that the applicant presented his birth certificate issued by the National Population Commission (NPC) which indicated October 12, 2000, as his date of birth, in addition to other important documents showing his age.
He insisted that the date of birth or any other information on any passport issued by the immigration is printed on the document only after a thorough vetting process, adding that Nwamini’s case was not an exception.
Read the full statement below:
NIS STRICTLY ADHERED TO DUE PROCESS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE NIGERIAN PASSPORT TO MR DAVID UKPO NWAMINI
The attention of the Service has been drawn to the trending issue in connection with an alleged case of age falsification on a Nigerian Standard Passport issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service to a Nigerian who is alleged to be at the centre of an investigation of the case of “organ harvesting”.
The Service wishes to set the record straight by informing the general public that the views being expressed that the service did not properly vet the breeder documents issued by the applicant during his passport application process are not correct, but mere fabrications aimed at tarnishing the image of the Service.
The facts of the matter concerning the case above, therefore, are that the said Mr David Ukpo Nwamini applied and paid for the Enhanced e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the Gwagwalada Passport Office, FCT Abuja, on the 2nd of November, 2021 for his interview.
To support his application, Mr. Nwamini presented all the necessary documents required, including his birth certificate issued by National Population Commission (NPC), showing 12 October 2000, as his date of birth; his National Identity Number (NIN), issued by NIMC corroborating the date of birth; a certificate of origin issued by Ebonyi State Government Liaison Office Abuja, and a Guarantor’s form duly signed.
In view of the above, the general public may wish to be informed that the date of birth, or any other information, on any Nigerian passport is printed on the document only after a thorough vetting process that involves both the applicant’s breeder documents and the person. Mr. Nwamini’s case, therefore, was not an exception.
While assuring of the Service’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the passport, the Service wishes to seize this opportunity to appeal to the general public to desist from making such unfounded utterances as they are capable of denting the image of the Service.
ISAH JERE IDRIS
NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE
25TH JUNE, 2022