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How we were assaulted, imprisoned in Togo — Canada-bound Nigerian

A Nigerian, simply identified as Oladimeji has narrated how he and his friend identified as Cosmos, were arrested in Togo and sent to prison without fair trial.

He said he and Cosmos were travelling to Canada and decided to first travel to Togo before flying to Canada having got information that it was cheaper to fly from Togo.

Oladimeji explained that trouble started on November 8, 2023, when they got to the airport and were at the airline stand when airport officials summoned them to inspect their travel documents.

In a long post he (Oladimeji) narrated to an X user with the username @Olumuyiwaayo, he explained that the airport officials alleged that they were travelling with fake visas and passports, adding that all their pleas fell on deaf ears.

According to him, the funniest part was that these airport officials were asking them for 600 dollars to bail themselves out.

He explained after they refused to pay the 600 dollars illegal bail fee, they were taken to the station and later sent to prison.

The post read, “Last year, on November 8, my friend Cosmas and I were traveling to Canada and decided to board from Togo due to the fact that we saw a cheaper flight from Togo. We got to Togo on the 6th of November and lodged in a hotel until the day of our flight. On getting to the airport, an unforeseen event happened.

“Before we got to the airline stand (Ethiopia Airlines), we were called by some of the airport officials. They asked us to show them our travel documents, which we did. They delayed us for hours to the point that we missed our flights, and they eventually said our visas were fake. They kept checking and couldn’t give evidence to back up their claims. We explained that we got our visas through an agent and explained the process by which we got the visas, but they proved adamant. After a series of arguments, they also came up with another claim that our passports were fake. At that point, we knew they hated us because we were Nigerians.

“Even if we were not sure about our visas, we were 100% sure of our passports because we went to the immigration office in Ilorin to obtain our passports, and we followed the right procedures we saw other people followed at the immigration office. The funniest part was that these airport officials were asking for 600 dollars to bail out ourselves. We refused, and they took us to the police station. We got to the police station that evening with the hope that they were taking us to the place where they would do a proper investigation.

“On getting to the police station, they locked us in the cell, but before we were eventually locked in the cell, we dragged with them, and we requested that they take us to the Nigerian Embassy in Togo so that they could verify all our documents most especially our passports, but the police refused. Rather, they beat us mercilessly and dragged us inside the cell. Our human rights were violated. They collected all our belongings and the 200 dollars that was with us.”

He explained that a friend who had escorted them to Togo later went to the Nigerian Embassy in Togo to report what transpired at the airport.

Oladimeji said, “Meanwhile, one of our friends in Nigeria escorted us to Togo to bid us farewell, so he saw all that happened and went straight to the Nigerian embassy in Togo the following day. God so good, two of the consulates came on our behalf and sent our passport details to Abuja for verification, and the result came back that our passports were original.

“These Togo police were so unprofessional, they were accusing us of using fake passports to travel while the report from the airport was fake passports and fake visas. After our embassy had verified our passports to be original and requested for our release, Togo police refused and locked us for five days. After five days, we were taken to the prison. We are presently in Togo prison as I type this message to you.

“I want people to learn from this. Togo is not a good country and they hate Nigerians so much. When we go to the prisons we meet so many Nigerians here. In fact, the population of Nigerians in Togo prison is almost more than the Togolese citizens. Nigerians should avoid flying from Togo. Even if they would be transiting from Togo, they should avoid Togo airport.”

Reacting to the development, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, said that the agency was yet to be informed of such an incident.

Speaking with Press on Thursday, NiDCOM spokesperson, Mr Abdulrahman Balogun, who explained that there is the possibility of such happened, urged those concerned or their family to report to the agency officially.

He said, “The case you mentioned is possible. There is a possibility because everybody (country) is cautious of their border and cautious of those entering their country because of security concerns globally.

“So, something must have happened and the person who such happened to or their family member should let us know the details and we then take it up from there and do our investigations.”

He also advised Nigerians travelling to other countries to do so with the necessary documents to avoid issues with officials of those countries.

“If someone is traveling without complete documents, such a person can be arrested. We have warned our citizens severally that when they are travelling, they should go with their legal documents. Travelling is your fundamental human right but when you are doing so, you should also equip yourself with the necessary documents.

“What I can say is that those involved or their families should write us formally. Somebody must inform us officially. When there is an issue, the people concerned are advised to write us officially.”

Naijaone reports that in the last seven years, about 300 Nigerians have been murdered extrajudicially in foreign nations.

The majority of these individuals were killed by non-state actors for no just reasons.

Naijaone had reported in October that a Nigerian student identified only as Ikem, was allegedly murdered by a group of Chinese in the Republic of Philipines.

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