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Dec 1, 2010

Human trafficking best kept secret; from Nigeria to Belize

There is no end to the immigration scandal. Our investigations have taken us to far away countries whose nationals are willing to spend mightily and take risks to get to the United States. Along the way, they are facilitated by a well organized ring of human smugglers who earn mega bucks to get the human cargo to their destination. News Five’s Jose Sanchez focuses on the trafficking of Nigerians via Belize.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The trail of Belize’s visa scandal has spread across the globe.  Somalis, Chinese and Sri Lankans are not the only people who found out that Belize is human trafficking best kept secret. Nigerians have also found a way to use Belize to reach the United States of America. This is the story of  Ogun.

In Ogun, Nigeria, an entrepreneur by the name of Ibegbunem Aniemeke collects passports from Nigerians who are trying to reach the United States. He sends them through the mail to Belize to the agent in Belize who takes the passports to the Immigration Department in Belmopan to be signed and stamped with six months visas. As you can see Casmir Chukwudimbu’s passport is stamped in Seme, Nigeria on June 12, 2009. And one month later on July 28th, it is seen in Belmopan and signed by P. Crawford. One hundred dollars government receipts are also issued for the transaction.

The process continues when the receipts and passports would then be photographed by the Belize handler and emailed to Aniemeke who then concludes the financial transaction with the passport owners. The passports are then mailed back to Nigeria to their owners.

The Nigerians then travel to the Middle East, then fly a long distance to Moscow, after which an equally long flight is taken to Havana, Cuba. Once in Cuba they catch a flight to Belize and they are processed with no worries at the airport.

But the link in Nigeria also received a minor blow in his operation.  A return shipment of passports with Belmopan visa stamps inside. But the shipment didn’t arrive.  On December 30th, 2008, he wrote DHL’s office in Belize.

“Hello, my name is Ibegbunem Aniemeke Lawson, I am a Nigerian businessman,

Sometime in November I sent a parcel containing 2 international passports

to Belize via your office in Ogun State Nigeria on air waybill number

1051821050 and it was delivered to the recipient in Belize but to my

greatest surprise the same passport was sent to me since on the 8th of

December 2008 on air way bill number 6773384284 and up till this moment I

have not received it. The name of my organization is INTERNAL AFFAIRS NO 5

QUARRY ROAD ABEOKUTA OGUN STATE. Please I will quite appreciate it if you

ensure that the passports get to me within the first week of January as

the visa on the said passports from Belize is already reading. Belize does

not have consulate or Embassy in Nigeria or anywhere in Africa hence the

need to send passports by post to them. Regards …

Ibe”

Incidentally, Belize does have an honorary Consul in Nigeria. However, DHL initiated a search for the parcel but the tone in Ibe’s follow-up email showed worry and irritation.

“Attention Mr. Vaughn and Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, below is the response from your Executive office and is not pleasing to my hearing. I will greatly appreciate it if you initiate actions that will enable me recover the passports because issuance of international passport in my country is not really that easy. I quite appreciate how difficult the situation might seems to you but I plead that something positive is done to ensure that i get the passports back. DHL is a well known company when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness and I hope that all this are brought to bear in your quest to making sure that i get my package on time. I have carefully read through your mission and vision, something in me tells me that the mistake must just be from the day it was sent because no update online.”

Bryan,

For your information: This package filed as seized by US customs. I’m so sorry to inform you this, but it is not in DHL hands to do more about it. If we can be of further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Mr. Ibe, regarding to your passport situation, we are working on the release of it because it has been detained by US Customs. As soon as we have new information we will let you know. It can take up to 45 working day on this delay while US Customs does the proper research on it. We are getting you a reference number which states that it has been detained. As soon as we have it will let you know.

Best regards,

DHL Express Belize

Alvaro Rodriguez
Country Manager

The Belize end of the Nigeria operation also unraveled that a commercial plane landed at the P.G.I.A. with a group of Nigerians. Amongst those busted were:  Tobi Osholana, Cyprian Nsyaina, Emmanuel Atuanya, Abiodun Tijani, and Monsurat Oduwole.   They informed officers of the identity of their contact in Belize. Investigations led to Richard Okechukwu Aralu who was found with two passports which were not his.  On his email account, many photos of Nigerian passports with Belmopan issued visas were found. Those Nigerian Nationals made it through Belize unlike the ones busted at the airport who were eventually deported. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Our records show that Aralu was charged for the unlawful possession of Nigerian passports in May of this year and is due back in court in late December.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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32 Responses for “Human trafficking best kept secret; from Nigeria to Belize”

  1. Cutty ligiyaba says:

    The Nigerian could not have set up shop and obtained stamped passports for his clients if he

    was not facilitated by corrupt Belizean agents–it’s a no brainer–the Belizean Ministry of national

    security is a criminal organization—There should be arrest made and those involved should be

    held accountable– a change in government is the only cure—and the only sure way to get those

    accountable before a court of law. Get them Belizeans.

  2. RadicalBelizean says:

    This is no secret. Don’t forget this is where slavery originated. These guys were always busy selling anyone (Brother, sister, mother, cousins and their neighbour tricked and sold) to the highest bidders. I have lost the will, but if I recall correctly we had a certain school celebrating their presence in the great country of Belize just last week. As far as I am concern its business as usual.

    Furthermore, I have a dear Belizean friend working in a General Hospital in the UK. He advised me that there is currently a memo being circulating around the hospital of a scam which has originated in Belize. The scam informs them that there is a parcel ready for their collection but they would have to pay £340 (>$1000Bz dollars). There is also a number and he promised to send it to me. Everyone knows these are Nigerians scams. When I studied abroad, I knew Nigerians who didn’t want to be associated with Nigerians and didn’t trust them so why should we?

    I would want to hear Mr Barrow now investigate each and every Nigerian in the land and deport does who do not qualify to be here in Belize with immediate effect. Mr Barrow / Perdomo or who ever is listening, I have asked you several times to CLOSE OUR BORDERS NOW.

    I will forward the telephone number of the scam – maybe BTL will be able to tell who owns the number.

  3. RadicalBelizean says:

    The Belize Scam number is 09066611911. What I don’t know if it is a UK number, in which case you have to put 0044 in front and drop the first 0 or it’s a Belize number via a VOIP like vonage etc? I will not dial the number because it may be a premium number and the charges is usually a lot more than the regular number. However they have been told its from Belize. This is what we in Belize is becoming famous (infamous) for? Drug trafficking, Human trafficking, Nigerian Scams, High HIV rate in the tourist areas, and third highest murder rate in the Caribbean. All of which can be reversed if we only have the will to do so.

  4. rod says:

    sorry sorry gov. and minister of security has his head up his you know what every one should be put in jail this is major major they are making belize look like joke around the world armpit of the world and who is to blame for this this pm and his gov who are useless ignorant and the corruption has no end in site hence the need to get rid of this pm and gov. is as urgent as ever.

  5. Junito says:

    Mein i was VERY IMPRESSED at the depth of this report. Kudos to channel 5 and a 5 our of 5 score for investigative journalism. Shows how corrupted our system is with parasites and leeches

  6. rootsman says:

    All this is nice to find out and makes Belize looks really cheesy accommodating these foreign scammers but who is the contact at the Belize immigration that is taking bribes to facilitate all these apparent illegal activities makes one wonder if Belize has participated into the facilitation of some of the terrorist activities being carried out in the US.

  7. Corruption Watch 2010 says:

    Well we know that if its UDP or PUP in power.. they both abuse their power. PUDP needs to go.

  8. Proud Belizean says:

    Great job, Jose Sanchez…you’re really doing a great job informing us.

  9. sunset says:

    I can’t understand why the PM is taking so long to act. Talking about evidence, what more he needs! Even a blind person would know that something is wrong. Imagine, these scams have been going on for quite a while and thanks to Channel 5 if not we would know nothing. I believe the PM is deep into this scams along with other high ranks in government. One thing I know, all this could not be done without a Minister or Ministers consent so what they taking us for, jac….ss? Why isn’t he acting or doing anything and puts his reputation on the line for Perdomo? Maybe he knows exactly whats going on and can’t discipline his cabinet. Castro’s so-called punishment is only a cover-up for his Govt bigger corruption. Acting like he’s doing something, pleeeaaasseee!! All of them should be investigated but sadly in this country the big fishes get away with everything. Its the small fries that end up paying. These public officers cannot do anything, especially major scams if not directed by their superiors who are the leaders of this country, thats why nothing ever comes out of all these scandals. We have to start being like our other Central American neighboring countries who prosecute any high ranking Minister for their wrongdoing, here in Belize they get away with too many things. Come on Mr. PM people are losing confidence in you daily. We don’t want to see you only punishing Minister’s of state, deal with your corrupted Ministers. I know you know whats happening, why can’t you deal with them? Are you involved? Thats why I cant stand politics and lean on neither side cause they’re all the same, no better than the other!! Fighting to stay in or get in just to get a chance to fill their bank accounts caz thats the easy way now. Want to get rich, ladies, fat, nice ride and power? Get into politics!!

  10. somiah says:

    This have been going on for decades, it is just being exposed. So dont give it all to the present administration… ( I am not for any political party )

    Great job and insight Radical Bze.!!! People need to keep watch,,,

  11. Sasha says:

    And the wheel keeps turning, everytime more interesting, WHY DOES BZ HAVE AN HONORARY CONSUL IN NIGERIA? they don’t have anything we want. More BZ $ being spent FOOLISHLY, COULD BE THEY ARE ALSO INVOLVED IN THE SCAM.

  12. somiah says:

    Radical Bze . great observation, a lot of people blame slavery on the white man but the Africans had some involvement , they were selling their people also. Up until today, blacks seem to not have a tolerance for their own, who is killing who in America, Belize and Africa? It’s all Black on Black crime!

  13. Marcos Canul says:

    Yet, with all this information being provided by Channel 5, the PM continues to live in his Ivory Tower. What the PM has to understand that “perception” in politics is as good as hard “facts”. These incidents of greed and corruption are already haunting Mr. Barrow and his team of nimcompoops. Barrow needs to stop micro managing the nation and force those lethargic Ministers to face the Press. Imagine, we are going through a Global Crisis and yet the Minister of Economic Development sleeps in his laurels. We are minced meat!

  14. Marcos Canul says:

    Yet, with all this information researched by Channel 5, the PM continues to live in his Ivory Tower. What the PM has to understand that “perception” in politics is as good as hard “facts”. These incidents of alleged greed and corruption are already haunting Mr. Barrow and his Cabinet. Barrow needs to stop micro managing the nation and force those lethargic Ministers to face the Press. Imagine, we are going through a Global Crisis and yet the Minister of Economic Development sleeps in his laurels. We are minced meat!

  15. Elgin Martinez says:

    Mr Barrow and Perdomo got to go.Enough of the BS.Maybe You and Perdomo should have accompanied Shyne and seek Citizenship is Israel PM.

  16. Curious says:

    There are too many ‘sleepers’ in Cabinet! Our PM is slow to act: and the other waste of space ministers are self serving, arrogant, and brainless, and hence have very little to contribute to the running of this country.

  17. ley says:

    .excuse me both UDP and PUP need to go both are the same new parties need to come to make a better BELIZE .Everything is about money no more safty for the young people growing up.If we people don’t try to stop soon belize will be like a part of Mexico in the north.

  18. tiad says:

    Elgin Martinez….whats you gripe??? U are a hater on the UDP it shows in your every comment!! Why the hell yu no talk bout ALL the one thousand and odd Briceno and his party issued….u are stupid and uneducated…facts are facts…..stop be so blinddd……..PUP did the same thing on a HUGE scale…so your point is????

  19. BZNinCALI says:

    RadicalBelizean, you hit the nail on the head. We all hate to point fingers at our black bothers & sisters but if Nigerians can find a way to scam us into paying for the free air we breathe, they will do so & whomever set up the initial connection should be shot.

    Someone asked why we had a consulate in Nigeria. We have oil, they have oil & everyone but the Belizeans are getting their share, the Nigerians like everyone else will treat us like a dog in heat as long as we are willing to sell our souls & natural resources for pittance.

  20. vigilante justice 316 says:

    Now this is what I call great journalism, they drew us up a road map of this crime taking place in our country. The corruption in our government is once again exposed and the PM is still twiddling his thumbs and not taking any action. This information was delivered on a silver platter and Mr. Barrow should take this opportunity to let some heads roll as he promised., throwing one man under the bus is not enough to hide your two faces Mr. PM we the people are still watching!

  21. Jay Jay says:

    OMG! Now I see that the Belizeans that made bad comments on the post are all ignorants,ingrates and fools. I’m a Nigerian, married to a Belizean, working in Belize. Talking about the visa scams and the so called Nigeria scams you’re talking about it just shows how ignorant you are. Americans,Canadians, British and Europeans come to Belize to take young people away from their families in the name of adoption; you fools don’t see anything wrong about it. Chineese put up all kinds of voodoo power everywhere in Belize and use it to get Belizean Destiny; you fools don’t see anything wrong in that Nigeria Government sends Nurses and Doctors to Belize every six (6) months: You fools don’t see any good thing to talk about the Nigerians. There are more than 200 Nigerians going to school here in Belize and they all pay international fees which cost each student about 3,500 BZ every semester; You fools don’t see that right. There are more 50 Nigerians teaching in Belize with high qualifications; You fools don’t see that right. There are more than 20 Nigerian Pastors in Belize; You fools still don’t see that.

    For your information; there are more than 500 Belizeans in the PRISON in U.S.A. I know many Belizeans that also give people money just to get U.S visas why don’t you stay in your country then since your country is the only paradise where more than 40% cannot afford food to eat. You cannot walk for 5mins in Belize without 5 people asking you for dalla.

    Talking about the Consulate of Belize in Nigeria; Who tells you that is the Belize government that is funding the Consulate. Go to Hon. Dean Barrow and ask him how much he gives the staffs working there for Belize. When it come to Diplomacy you shouldn’t say “what is Belize Consulate doing in Nigeria”

    For your information fools; more than 100 belizeans are married to Nigerians so thats a generation starting right there just like how 10% of Belizeans also have American Nationality.

    I will stop right here for now so fools think twice before you condem people because you cannot conclude that the Nigerians in Belize are all parasites as one of you said.

    We all need each other (One Love,Peace and Unity)

    Jay Jay

  22. ReVoLuTiOn says:

    The GOT”V of Belize has to be taken down. They need to be kicked out. Look at the reputation Belize now has. It’s just gone from bad to worse. Belizean people are gonna do something fi d future of Belize? Or will we just continue to sit by and be intimidated?

  23. bola from Nigeria says:

    You people are crazy who want to come to your belize poor country

  24. Elgin Martinez says:

    tiad: Whoever you are you need to learn to write proper English before you come on this blog talking about fool.Your name alone suggest how retarted you are.Furthermore you’re not on my level and you havn’t been where i’ve been.All you know is UDP and PUP and for you’re information i am not an affiliate of neither of those parties.Do you even know what the definition of fact is?Now let me tell you what a fact is.Let me educate your dumb @$$.Since the begining of the year 2011 to present.more that Fifty murders has been committed in Belize.Fact no.2 Lame @ Dean Barrow used the word Jakass in the National Assembly.Now let me tell you what an opinion is.1. you refering to me as a hater when you don’t even know me and 2.That i am stupid.With that said you can’t intimidate me furthermore i am going to keep exposing your corrupted PM Barrow.

  25. Lina says:

    bola from Nigeria you speak of our poor country am sure is way better than Nigeria …..

  26. roseyem says:

    can belize consulate in Nigeria issue visa to Nigerian who are interested in visiting Belize……??I need respionse to this Question pls………Thank u and God bless you!

  27. sean says:

    If Belize people can talk this way then its bad. Knew lots of belize itizen in UK and here in Ireland living illegally and doing illicit things, you guys are no saint at all. Better keep quiet before nemesis of God comes over you. You said they should deport Nigerians back, you try that and see the turmoil that will befall the country of Belize, we want peae and you guys should stop been psynophobic. We both blacks and we must love and support oursleves….. Sister jay jay, love your message, Pls people of Belize, We Nigerian love you and the press people should not make trophy outta this stupid story….

  28. jasper says:

    life is about give and take. crime and fraud pervades the face of this earth, its everywhere. most times the Good and Honest people suffer the consequences of criminals and fraudsters. i dont support crime or fraud in any circumstance watsoever, but am also mindful of the fact that condemning everyone from any place due to few bad ones is not d rite thing to do. jus lik d former prime Minister said “dont watch me , watch urself” i will say the same to all and sundry. befor u point 1 finger at people remember that the other 4 fingers are pointed @ urself. officials at the ministry of foreign affairs should do their job and make sure that criminals and fraudsters do not have a field day. would these things be completely erradicated , am not sure but could they be minimized, that am sure. we can do better

  29. oki....nigeria says:

    jay jay u r so right,d nigerian govt jst signed aggreement to send more doctors,teachers,lecturer n other proffessionals to belize for assistances. Its clear dat nigerian govt n pple really want to assist u ppl in belize,taking abt ur consulate in nigeria d high commissioner is a nigerian n other staff at d belize consulate n nigerian govt pay all of them at d belize consulate in nigeria. so dnt bite d hands dat feed u ok. We need to love one another….one love

  30. oki....nigeria says:

    jay jay u r so right,d nigerian govt jst signed aggreement to send more doctors,teachers,lecturer n other proffessionals to belize for assistances. Its clear dat nigerian govt n pple really want to assist u ppl in belize,taking abt ur consulate in nigeria d high commissioner is a nigerian n other staff at d belize consulate n nigerian govt pay all of them at d belize consulate in nigeria. so dnt bite d hands dat feed u ok. We need to love one another….one love.

  31. Arthol says:

    i have beaning to belize consulate in Abuja Nigeria, and the place is lock for a Month now. pls i dnt know what happen to them.

  32. Olufadeke says:

    My name is Oduwole Monsurat Olufadeke.I’m a Nigerian obviously.This is my first time of seeing this site.This is absurd!!! How come i was being wrongly alleged of been deported when I’ve never been to Belize.
    Sure,i applied for Belize visa but i was told my passport was seized by US custom in which i tried to get back through that agent named ‘Ibegbunem Aniemeke Lawson” but all to no avail which is now very clear to me why.
    This is preposterous for someone to have used my passport and get away with me.There’re so many things the government need to look into apart from human trafficking,this is incongruous.
    This has to end or else innocent people will continue to suffer for what they know nothing about.

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