Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Nigerians, rid yourselves of them before it’s too late

November 11-17, 2013

Team GS

Nigerians in IndiaNigeria has expressed “disappointment” about the profiling of its citizens in India as being involved in drugs and also has hinted that if the alleged murder of the Nigerian here “is not handled properly” things could “backfire back home and we won’t be able to help”. That’s a threat, and not even veiled. That apart, Nigeria should acknowledge the track record of its citizens here. And the examples of criminality we have documented mainly are this year alone! Make no mistake many of the Nigerians living in a few cities in the country are a dubious lot.  In fact, the world over, they have a history steeped in crime and drugs.  The Nigerian online phishing racket is probably popping up on your computer even as you read this article.  It has lured many innocent people into parting with their hard earned savings and is mostly based in Mumbai.

In October this year about 130gm of cocaine was found on two Nigerians in separate cases in Delhi.  In the first case police arrested Akachukwa Christrofer, who came to India in 2007 on a tourist visa for his garment business.  He visited India six times between 2007 and 2010.  In 2010, he was arrested for a crime he committed and sent to Tihar Jail for a year.  In jail, he befriended fellow Nigerians, involved in drug trafficking.  Out on bail, he started selling cocaine he got from a fellow Nigerian, Okka, currently based in Goa.  The other Nigerian arrested was Stanley Chimezie, a professional football player, who came to India in 2011 on a medical visa.  Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

Two months earlier, in August, Ludhiana police arrested a Nigerian on suspicion he was a member of the Kala Kachcha (literally meaning Black Underwear) gang based on rumours that a gang with that name existed.  The Nigerian was released after police discovered he was not a criminal but, they did find a number of watches on him that he used to sell.

Calendar of events

In July, nine Nigerians were arrested in Tirupur as their passports and visas had expired.  Some of them even lacked valid documents to stay at Tirupur.  Before that, three other Nigerians were arrested for not having valid documents. Here in Goa, 38 of the 52 arrested for rioting after the alleged murder did not have valid documents.

In Jalandhar in June this year, 21 Nigerian students were arrested for rioting and theft.  The students were caught stealing a man’s purse and later snatching a camera from a photojournalist.  They also snatched a camera from a cameraman who had come to cover the arrest.  When the students were taken to the police station, they argued with the police and even tried to overpower them.

In Bangalore in the same month, a police constable of the Banasawadi Police Station was attacked by a Nigerian student when police tried to prevent a fight between drunken Nigerian students on Kammanahalli Main Road.  Earlier, seven Nigerians were arrested in Tirupur for brutally attacking a 53-year-old special branch sub-inspector who was taking down their names for not having valid passports or visas.  In September of 2012, police in Tirupur also arrested 12 Nigerians engaged in the hosiery business, for not having valid passports or visas.  Over two years, nearly 150 Nigerians were found living in the hosiery town without valid documents.

Black Dollar duping

Their story is always the same. They either come to India for medical treatment or to study, but easily blend into a life of crime and even murder sometimes.  Mumbai appears to be their preferred city and their crime ranges from drug peddling, internet phishing and “black dollar” duping.   The city’s Anti-Narcotics Cell has been arresting four-five Nigerian drug peddlers every month. Three Nigerian men were arrested at Reay Road station on March 21, 2013 for peddling drugs, much of it cocaine mixed with large quantities of lactose powder.

The term “Black dollar” was coined after Nigerians started bringing in fake US dollars covered in black paint.  Each note is sold at 50-60 per cent lower than its actual value after the black notes are cleaned in front of the buyer by dipping them in a solution to convince him he is buying a genuine dollar note for half the price.  Navi Mumbai especially is a popular haunt for “black dollar” gangs because of its proximity to the JNPT port, the APMC market and numerous ship breaking yards around Kalamboli where blackmarketers look for easy ways to convert their black money into white.

The Nigerian gangs live in groups in flats in Navi Mumbai, in Koparkhainar, and the suburbs of Mira Road, Bhayander, Vasai and Nallasopara.  Nigerian men have even entered into marriages of convenience with Indian women and purchased flats in these areas.  It is said that scams by Nigerians is forever morphing.  In September this year, 26-year-old Ravi Nair was lured with a fake job offer from a five-star hotel in London with a monthly salary of 3,500 pounds.  He paid a Nigerian (arrested later) Rs. 16,000 to process his UK visa which it turned out was never going to happen.

In April this year, Mumbai police arrested a Nigerian who, with two accomplices, stabbed a 22-year-old youth to death after he refused them money to buy alcohol. The Nalasopara police said the victim, Rahul Singh, was actually a friend of theirs.  The police said the incident took place on a Saturday night when the three Nigerians and Singh were drinking. The police said the Nigerians asked Singh for money to buy some more alcohol. When he refused, they stabbed him with a pair of scissors and fled.

You may not want to but believe this but the Nigerian has taken his passion for crime to China too.  That’s another story.

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