Visa Racketeering, Trafficking Scandal Rocks Foreign Affairs Ministry

Visa Racketeering, Trafficking Scandal Rocks Foreign Affairs Ministry
  • As EFCC swings into action, writes permanent secretary
  • Petitioners allege intimidation, threats to life

Teddy Nwanunobi

Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the middle of a visa racketeering and human trafficking scandals, AljazirahNigeria can authoritatively report.

“The reports of sleaze and corruption in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken an international dimension, with the revelation that Ambassador Janet Olisa, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Jamaica, engaged in visa fraud and human trafficking against the US, Jamaica, Belize and many countries, and the Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, and Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary, are allegedly involved in the cover up”, a document obtained by AljazirahNigeria said.

Titled, “International Corruption: Senior Ambassador in Foreign Affairs Accused of Visa Racketeering Against USA, Onyeama and Aduda Accused of Cover-up”, the revelation is contained in a letter by a former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Namibia and former Head of Mission in Jamaica, Ambassador Lilian Onoh, which exposed the sleaze and the cover up in the Ministry.

Onoh explained that the visa racket scandal was the reason behind visa limitation and cancellation to Nigerian diplomats in Jamaica.

“She protested the unfair sacking of two junior officers who worked with Janet Olisa in Jamaica to protect her, and fingered Onyeama and Aduda in the corruption cover up. The visa racket scandal has caused America to limit visas to Nigerian diplomats in Jamaica, according to our source, and America even cancelled visas for some Nigerian diplomats and their families because of Janet Olisa’s alleged criminal conduct in Jamaica.

“A source from the Ministry pointed to the recent meeting with the American Ambassador with Gabriel Aduda which was posted on Twitter on May 11 to “discuss a number of visa related issues, including strengthening due diligence mechanism” for issuing visas, and said it was a result of the protest by Ambassador Onoh, which was forwarded to the American Embassy because the Ministry refused to act on the unfair dismissal of the two junior staff of the Ministry. This is a new level of shame in the long-running scandals trailing the Ministry since Onyeama took over in 2015. It is a disgrace that a Nigerian Ambassador can engage in “Visa Fraud”, and normally she should be sacked for such criminal behaviour but she is being protected by Onyeama and Aduda, according to the letter.

“In fact, Ambassador Janet Olisa is called ‘Prime Minister’ in the Ministry because of the power she wields over the Minister and Perm- Sec in the Ministry, and controls over contracts in the Ministry. The unfair sack of the two junior officers to protect Ambassador Janet Olisa caused anger among the rank and file in the Ministry who accused Onyeama and his team of encouraging corruption in the Ministry where billions of naira have gone missing under Onyeama, and the Ministry is always being dragged by the National Assembly over corruption and embezzlement.

“Ambassador Onoh, who has been exposing corruption in the Ministry for some years also lambasted Onyeama and Aduda for their complicity in the visa scandal and their corruption and lampooned their online defamation campaign against her, alleging that they paid Sahara Reporters $50,000 in cash to publish their blackmail attacks in an attempt to discredit her after she testified of their corruption to the House of Representatives last year. She lampooned the Minister and Permanent Secretary’s ignorance because they did not know that ‘Overhead expenses’ were for paying for official duties. She stated that no panel indicted her and revealed that Gabriel Aduda was actually answering questions about MFA corruption in the Senate when they claimed he was with a panel investigating her in Namibia. In fact, she said that they even made up hotel bills in defamation when she wasn’t even in Nigeria, and said they were unfit to be called Minister or Permanent Secretary.

“Ambassador Onoh listed all the times Onyeama sabotaged Nigerians in the Diaspora and then blamed Nigeria’s diplomats trying to defend Nigerians instead of supporting them. She also lambasted the greed of the Minister and Permanent Secretary who she accused of profiting from the pains of the Nigerian students caught up in the Ukraine War and asked where the balance of the $8.5 million, about N5 billion, for bringing back Nigerian students from Ukraine was because only 900 out of 5000 students were repatriated and the embassies were not paid their out-of-pocket expenses for looking after the students”, she revealed.

The document further alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was unleashed by Janet and Aduda to intimidate staff of the Ministry.

“Following the protest of Ambassador Onoh, one of the officers that were sacked to cover up for Ambassador Janet Olisa is now reinstated, and the case of the other one is under review. However it emerged that Ambassador Janet and Gabriel Aduda quickly used the EFCC again to intimidate the two young officers over Note Verbale issue, and this is seen by the staff of the Ministry as an abuse of power because the EFCC does not have legal power to investigate Note Verbale issues, which is purely diplomatic, and staff of the Ministry say this is part of the pattern of abuse of power by Gabriel Aduda to intimidate staff of the Ministry into keeping silent about his alleged corrupt practices, which includes awarding ministry contracts to himself. The mood in the Ministry is similar to what prevailed before the spontaneous combustion that led to the removal of Anthonia Ekpa in 2019”, it added.

In response to an invitation to the EFCC titled, ‘Re: Invitation to the EFCC in Connection With Investigation on Note Verbale’, and addressed to both Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama and Gabriel Taminu Aduda, Onoh made more revelations and accusations.

“I write to both of you with regard to an ‘invitation’ from the EFCC, couriered to Enugu on the instruction of Gabriel Aduda, because I reported that Ambassador Janet Olisa, D. ,PRS, engaged in an elaborate human trafficking and visa racketeering scheme in Jamaica against the USA, Jamaica, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the other 34 Caribbean islands under the High Commission in Jamaica during her tenure as High Commissioner in Jamaica ,2017-2020; and two of you, Janet Olisa and Musa Mamman D. ,Admin., colluded to sack two junior officers that worked with Janet Olisa in Jamaica to cover up her atrocities.

“You and Mustapha Suleiman routinely siphoned $30,000.00 per quarter from my allocations ,as well as untold millions from all the other 108 missions, and all my telexes protesting this fraud ‘at source’ were ignored, and you continued this blatant stealing.

“Since 2015, when (I) became Head of Mission in Jamaica until 2021 after my tenure in Namibia, I reported among other things, $2.8 million Haiti Red Cross Funds fraud by Ambassador Kamson, $200,000.00 VAT fraud by Mr. Ladan Sidi, $265,000.00 Presidential Intervention Fraud by you and Kunle Bamgbose and tens of billions of Naira disappearing under you, Mustapha Suleiman ,former P.S. and Zubairu Salawu ,former DFA, between 2018 and 2020, and not once did the EFCC invite me to either provide further information on the multi-million dollar/billion Naira embezzlement; or to come and ‘adopt’ my petitions.

“But since July 2021, when (I) first protested the fact that you, Gabriel Aduda and Musa Mamman ,Director Admin., presided over the unlawful dismissal of two junior officers that worked in Jamaica in order to protect Janet Olisa’s Visa Racketeering and Human Trafficking in Jamaica, (I) have been hounded by EFCC operatives by phone and latterly, in writing. In fact, you and Aduda and Janet Olisa went so far as to submit an instruction to the EFCC in July 2021 to arrest me at the Airport, but unfortunately for you all, left the country before your illegal request could be carried out.

“For two of you to engage in such a criminal venture, a scheme to take me to the notorious detention centre in Zone 6 in your continued bid to discredit me, have me incarcerated indefinitely, humiliate me and possibly eliminate me in order to cover up your massive financial corruption, and your criminal complicity in the human trafficking and visa racketeering by Janet Olisa, is a new nadir in the history of the Foreign Ministry and for this reason, you are no longer fit to be addressed either as Minister or Permanent Secretary and I can no longer address you as such.

“You directed me to remove all obstacles to Namibians travelling to Nigeria even in the face of their continued maltreatment and deportation of our legitimate travelers after detaining them at the airport on arrival and ensuring that the monies they had paid for hotels and other travel packages could not be refunded”, she accused in the letter dated April 18, 2022, and copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Inspector General of Police, IGP, Force HQ, Abuja; Embassy of the United States, Abuja; High Commission of Canada, Abuja; and High Commission of Jamaica, Abuja.

Meanwhile, the EFCC had invited the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A response of the invitation, which was sent on April 5, 2022, and received on April 12, 2022, was entitled: ‘Investigation Activities – Re: Request for Information on Note Verbale Issued by Ambassador Janet Olisa During Her Posting at Jamaica (August 2017 to October, 2020)’.

“Our letter, with reference number CR3000/EFCC/HQ/TFS/TA/VOL 15/005 dated 8 September, 2021 on the ongoing investigation involving Note Verbale refers.

“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to inform/release Mr. Mely as he is to interview the Head of Operations Headquarters, through the Head Tax Fraud Section. Headquarters on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at No. 2 Nyala Close, off Tunis Street, Wuse Zone 6. Abuja, by 1000 hours.

“This request is made according to Section 38(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004”, it read.

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