February 22, 2017

Nigerian student jailed over sham marriage in the UK

A UK court has sentenced a Nigerian student to 12 months in jail after he was arrested last year for taking part in a sham marriage.

Abiola and Vania met at dance rehearsals and barely knew each other.

Abiola and Vania met at dance rehearsals and barely knew each other.

Authorities revealed that Jayeola Abiola made plans for his fake wedding in November 2012, months before his visa was to expire in January 2013.

But his plans for wedded bliss were halted after a registrar at the Hull Registry alerted the UK border agency that the couple barely knew each other, as was revealed by their interview.

The registrar revealed that bride had given a fake name, looked nothing like the image in her passport and neither party was able to answer questions about the other convincingly.

Abiola, 29, met his sham Portuguese wife, Vania Pinheiro Fernandez, also 29 years old, at a dance rehearsal. He could barely pronounce her name, but offered her well over £2,500 to become his lawfully wedded wife.

The law student at Hull University also allegedly paid another £1,000 to Ayodeji Abbis, who acted as a best man on the day of the faux-nuptials.

Border officials arrested the groom, bride and best man as they made their way out of the registry and even collected video evidence of the wedding.

Both Abiola and Vania pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law by arranging a marriage so Abiola could remain in the UK.

Crown barrister David Bradshaw explained that “the marriage ws fake because he was not in love with her. He didn’t want to set up a loving family unit. He did it because he wanted to stay in the UK.”

Bradshaw also revealed that another man, Abiola Kumoye, who was also arrested, had been paid £2,650 to broker the fake marriage.

Kumoye, 34, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to break immigration law by acquiring criminal property (the fee for the sham wedding).

The entire wedding would have cost at least £5,000 had it all worked according to plan.

Gurdial Singh of the Hull Crown Court: said: “It is often said that sham marriages are too prevalent and strike at the heart of the country’s immigration system.”

Andy Norris of the UK Border Agency assured anyone found entering into such a union will be arrested, “no matter where they are in the country.”

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Pilot Africa News is run and edited by Chika Moses. A video journalist eager to find new, great and inspiring content in Nigeria and Africa. Got a story tip? Send a message!