Nigerian expats living in Qatar should report any suspicious activity by their compatriots to avoid damaging their nation’s reputation, community leaders have said.
During a town hall meeting on Friday organized by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) Qatar, members of the 7,500-strong community in Qatar were urged to be alert to potential crimes conducted by other Nigerians and to inform authorities.
The recommendation comes after recent reports of Nigerians in Qatar being caught trying to obtain visas and other official documents using paperwork with forged signatures and fake stamps meant to look like they were from police and government authorities in Nigeria.
Speaking to Doha News, NIDO-Qatar general secretary Victor Ikoli said reports of illegal activity were “embarrassing” for Nigerians in Qatar and damaged the community’s good reputation in the country.
“As a community, we are looking for ways to be a police. Nigerians should report a member to NIDO or the Nigerian embassy, if you find a fellow Nigerian involved in criminal activity,” he said.
Ikoli added that a dedicated email address is being be set up for members to use to report crimes.
Last month, a Doha criminal court reviewed reports of six Nigerian men charged with counterfeiting financial statements from a Qatar bank and presenting them at the embassy of an unnamed European country in Qatar with visa applications.
Two of the man are accused of using forged stamps and signatures on modified real bank statements, while the others collaborated with them, Gulf Times reported, citing Arabic daily Al Raya.
The embassy has responded by issuing a statement warning all Nigerians that document forgery is a criminal offense, and that those caught doing so will be prosecuted under Qatar law and then deported if convicted.
At this weekend’s community meeting, NIDO-Qatar President Amadi Nwokocha told Nigerians to be on the lookout for crimes.
In response to the reports of the document fraud, Nigeria’s mission in Qatar issued a statement to its community, warning them of the repercussions of faking papers, Drumbeatnews said.
All documents presented from Nigerian authorities will be checked to ensure signatures and stamps are authentic.
Individuals presenting fake documents will be blacklisted, and the embassy has the right to undertake further investigations, involving local law enforcement agencies.
“Any incidence of presentation of forged/fake documents, including those with forged embassy stamps and/or signatures of embassy officials will be prosecuted by the Qatari authorities to the fullest extent of their laws,” the statement added.