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Italian Embassy detects 1,185 fake visas

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Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos State, has expressed worry over the unrelenting attitude of Nigerians in patronising visa vendors, which end up packaging them with fake travelling documents.
This was even as SFU disclosed that it has received over 1,185 applicants with fake documents from Italian Embassy, with many of them being charged to courts.
Speaking on this, the SFU Public Relations Officer, Mr Lawal Audu, said that many of the embassies, partnering with the unit, had zero tolerance for forgery. According to him, the embassies are mainly interested in issuing visas to credible Nigerians.
Audu, who said that SFU had a good working relationship with American, Italian and the British embassies, noted that each of the embassies had its peculiarities.
He said: “The American consulate general for instance; every day we receive complaints of fake visa applicants. But the most disturbing is the fake visas, fake stamps, both arrival and departure stamps. Most of these applicants appear at the consulate with passports covered with fake visas and fake travel history.”
According to Audu, the major issue is that Nigerians, seeking to travel out, prefer to go to a visa vendor, who may end up defrauding them.
He said: “These visa vendors are everywhere. They will tell prospective customers or clients that they had assisted over 100 people to get the American visa. They will promise to help. And because these visa seekers are vulnerable or don’t care to know how they can apply for visa, they fall prey.
“If you want to know how to apply for visas, just go to the internet. You don’t need to pay anyone or give money to anyone. But rather, many Nigerians prefer to give money to touts, visa agents and visa vendors. Nobody is appointed to be a visa vendor by any embassy or high commission. If these vendors are claiming to be agents of any embassy, or that they have someone working with them inside the embassy; it’s all lies. They prepare fake visa for these gullible Nigerians. Most passports of these applicants are okay, but other things are fake. These applicants appeared before the consulate, but the workers at such places are very detailed.
“They check and see the extent the applicant has gone to, in desperation to get visas. When the visas are detected to be fake, they are sent to us for proper investigation and prosecutions. We have a lot of them in the courts. The difference between the British and American embassies is that for the US, you will appear in person. You will be interviewed. But for the British Embassy you are expected to submit all your documents through the visa submission centre.
“These desperate visa seekers will procure fake bank statements, fake employment letter and sometimes fake visas. They put fake arrival and departure stamps and submit. The British sometimes, when they get such applications, will invite the applicant for an interview. After the interviewing, they might be held and handed over to us. For the Italian consulate, you submit application.”

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