Italian Embassy detects 1,185 Nigerian applicants with fake visas

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…As Russia says U.S. airstrike killed 5 of its civilians in Syria***

The Police Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, Lagos State has expressed worry over the unrelenting attitude of Nigerians to patronize visa vendors, which end up packaging them with fake travelling documents.

This was even as SFU disclosed that it has received over 1,185 applicants with fake documents from Italian Embassy, with many of them charged to courts.

Speaking on this, the SFU Public Relations Officer, Lawal Audu, said many of the embassies, which partner with SFU, have zero tolerance for forgery. Audu noted that these embassies are mainly interested in issuing visas to credible Nigerians.

Audu, who said that SFU has a good working relationship with American, Italian and the UK embassies, noted that each of this embassy, has its peculiarities.

He noted: “The American consulate general for instance; every day we receive complaints of fake visa applicants. But the most disturbing is the fake visas, fake stamps, both arrival and departure stamps. Most of these applicants appear at the consulate with passports covered with fake travel history.”

According to Audu, the major issue is that Nigerians, seeking to travel out, prefer to go to a visa vendor, who might end up defrauding them. He said: “These visa vendors are everywhere. They will tell prospective customers or clients that they had assisted over hundred people to get the American visa. They will promise to help. And because these visa seekers are vulnerable or don’t care to know how they can apply for visa, they fall prey.

“If you want to know how to apply for visas, just go to the internet. You don’t need to pay anyone or give money to anyone. But rather, many Nigerians prefer to give money to touts, visa agents and visa vendors. Nobody is appointed to be a visa vendor by any embassy or high commission.”

In the meantime, Russia confirmed Thursday that five of its citizens were killed in a U.S. strike in Syria last week.

Maria Zakharova, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told a briefing that none of the dead were military personnel. They were killed in a clash in the eastern Deir el-Zour province on Feb. 7.

Zakharova wouldn’t describe how the Russians died, saying the circumstances were still being clarified, but her statement amounted to official recognition that the victims were part of the force that advanced on positions of the U.S.-backed fighters.

The incident marks the first time Russians and Americans have become directly engaged in combat in Syria — a scenario Moscow and Washington have anxiously sought to avoid.

On the chaotic Syrian battlefield, Russian forces are supporting the Syrian government in the fight against opposition groups, some of which are backed by the United States, and elements of both sides are fighting the last remnants of the Islamic State group in Syria.

The U.S. military has said it maintained contact with the Russian military in Syria before, during and after the Feb. 7 clash. The Russian Defense Ministry insisted its troops weren’t involved in the incident, saying 25 Syrian volunteers were wounded in the U.S. strike.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has said that some Russian citizens could be in Syria but the Kremlin doesn’t have any information about them.

Guardian NG with additional report from NBC