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‘British officials stripped me’

Posted by By Musikilu Mojeed, Abuja on 2008/08/18 | Views: 1811 |

‘British officials stripped me’

British immigration officials are alleged to have subjected some Nigerian women to dehumanising treatment, stripping them in the guise of security screening.

British immigration officials are alleged to have subjected some Nigerian women to dehumanising treatment, stripping them in the guise of security screening.

The women, our correspondent learnt on Monday, were among passengers on Emirates flight EK 0015 to London on August 5, this year.

The flight left Lagos on August 5, made a stopover in Dubai and arrived Gatwick on August 6.

But after the passengers disembarked, some female immigration officials randomly picked some Nigerian women and ordered them into a room where they were reportedly stripped.

One of the affected passengers who narrated her ordeal to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, for fear that she might be stigmatised, said she and her colleagues were compelled to take off their clothes and underwear while the officials used security gadgets to frisk them.

She said, “Immediately we were taken into the room, we were compelled to take off our clothes. We protested but they threatened to deport us if we failed to co-operate.

“But they were not even satisfied with that. They ordered us to also remove our panties and brassieres. They then started to frisk our private parts and breasts with security equipment.

“I wept profusely but the officials were unmoved. They said they wanted to be sure that we did not conceal hard drugs in our bodies.

“At a point, one of them knelt down, asked me to open my legs wide while she looked deep into my private part. It was dehumanising and I felt as if I was raped. I felt ashamed as I dressed up and left the room. I regretted the trip.”

The woman, who is her 30s and married with children, said she and the other women were later released after nothing incriminating was found on them.

When contacted on the matter on Monday, an official of the Public Affairs section of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Mr. Dele Oladokun, promised to reach the relevant officials and then get back to our correspondent.

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