By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have barred from entering the country a Nigerian national who passed himself off as a citizen of Malta by presenting a bogus passport.
BI travel control and enforcement unit Chief Ma. Timotea Barizo said 30-year-old Onyebuchi Emmanuel Ukeje was denied entry last Feb. 4 upon his arrival at the NAIA 2 terminal.
Barizo said the Nigerian had just arrived onboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Bangkok, Thailand when he was intercepted.
“He was denied entry and was included in our immigration blacklist for using a spurious immigration document which is a blatant violation of our immigration laws,” Barizo said.
According to TCEU supervisor Juan Carlo Gomez, the African passenger presented a Maltese passport and identity card.
But inconsistencies in his statements aroused the suspicion of the immigration officer who referred the passenger to the TCEU for secondary inspection.
It was during the interview that the passenger reportedly admitted his true nationality and stated that he acquired his fake travel papers in Malta for US$2,500 from a Maltese citizen of Nigerian descent.
The passenger, using his Maltese passport, left Malta in late December and flew to South Africa and Bangkok before proceeding to Manila.
According to Ukeje, he secured the fake documents because he was facing a “terrible financial challenge in Malta” and wanted to leave “to start a new life.”