The 11 Nigerians and a Cameroonian aged between 24 and 40 years have been handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), after being flown back to the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
The Nigerian stowaways have been identified as Seyi Popoola, Precious Uwalogho, Ayetimiyi Kelvin, Stephen Junior, Emmanuel Benjamin, Balogun Gbenga, Temiotan Adewale, Igiebor Stephen, Hamza John, Alfred Ese and Ogechi Chika.
Recounting their ordeal, the stowaways who entered the basement of a cargo ship named Ophelia Panama, at Tin Can Island Port in Apapa, Lagos on the 7th of September, said they presented themselves to the crew of the ship after running out of food to escape starving to death.
They were however tortured by the crew, who sprayed some chemicals on them before throwing them into the sea.
While two persons died, the surviving 11 sustained various degrees of injuries and were rescued by Liberian fishermen who handed them to the country’s Immigration service.
One of the stowaways said;
“When the ship was moving after four days our food finished and so we wanted help from the crew. Unfortunately, the crew started spraying us chemicals which were burning our skins while asking us to jump into the high seas.”
Comptroller of the Immigration Service, MMIA, Lagos, Adeola Adesokan, commended the Liberian government and officers of the Liberian Immigration service for rescuing them and further disclosed that the stowaways would be released to the appropriate authorities after being profiled.
“Their story is very harrowing, very pitiable, there was hot water flushing , thrown into the high sea and left to destiny. On behalf of the Comptroller-General, Isah Jere Idris, we want to thank the Commander General of Immigration for Liberia for their kind gesture.”