Dutch-Nigerian activist arrested for people smuggling
The Dutch authorities have arrested Nigerian activist Sunny Ofehe on suspicion of people smuggling and forgery. The Public Prosecutors Office has confirmed that reports on his arrest published in Nigerian media are accurate.
The Public Prosecutor's Office says the suspicions against Mr Ofehe first arose when he was at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to pick up a man and a woman arriving on a flight from Nigeria. The man was detained by immigration officials because the woman was travelling on a passport in another person’s name. The woman later told the police she was the victim of people traffickers who had used voodoo practices to coerce her into working as a prostitute in Italy. Mr Ofehe is also accused of submitting a false pay slip to allow a Nigerian asylum seeker to rent an apartment in Rotterdam.
Sunny Ofehe is the chairman and founder of the Hope for Niger-Delta Campaign, or HNDC. The organisation seeks to protect the interests of the people of the Niger Delta, where the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is exploiting a series of oil concessions. The oil companies in the region are accused of causing widespread ecological damage.
Mr Ofehe first came to the Netherlands 16 years ago as an asylum seeker and has since acquired Dutch nationality. In late January, Mr Ofehe testified at a parliamentary hearing about the role of Shell in the Niger Delta. In December he accompanied Socialist Party MP Sharon Gesthuizen on a fact-finding mission to the region.
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