How the British High Commission Scams Nigerians

by Dele Oluwole

This is sugar cane; the new born baby that we are celebrate his naming today will have a life devoid of sorrow, this is honey; the baby’s life will be full of pleasant experiences, here we have cola nuts; we pray he lives longer than any of us here, Alligator pepper; we ask that his life be full of spices and fulfilling days, and finally this is Banana; because we witness your naming today life will never be difficult for you. Theses were the prayers from my uncle then when Toluhi my youngest brother was named and the well-wishers echoed ‘Amin’. I grew up believing that truly life was going to be all rose-coloured for Toluhi after all neither difficulty nor bitterness was represented that day as my uncle read out his names which had been carefully selected by my parents.

While my other siblings and I were busy sweating it out in the lecture rooms for academic degrees and excellence, Toluhi was busy sweating it out in discotheque halls all over Kabba and its environ and at the same time perfecting his ‘American’ accent and life style. Those who met him for the first time mistook him for either an ‘Americana’ or a ‘Londoner’, so he grew up believing strongly that someday he will travel out of motherland for good in a grand style to live permanently in America where he thought he belonged so that he could ride the best of cars and tie the knot with one of the most beautiful girls. I wouldn’t know if the fear of failure was the reason why he didn’t have a girl friend, although his friends called him ‘Stoneface’ because they think his face is so unattractive that no girl will accept to go out on a date with him yet he had so much confidence in himself and believed that money, Power, and women are inseparable. Even though he never believed he was unattractive, he told me once that his wife must be beautiful and tall, that will at least balance up their offspring’s gene. Tolu, ‘What about a woman having good manners I asked’, ‘egbon ewo efi yenle’ he answered, and continued ‘money answereth all things the holy book says’. He further said ‘Money is the root of all evil but the trunk and leaves depends solely on the root for life or have you seen a three or plant without roots?’

Even though he threw a party once to celebrate a positive response from the American embassy 8 years a go he finally got a British Visa in May 2007 after 11 years of fruitless attempts. The last time I saw him was some 6 years a go and as I picked him up from the airport, like water trickling down my head the memories of those good old days came back. As he swung exuberantly in his usual style in front of me toward the car boot I saw nothing but a young man who was about ten years behind. Despite sounding American, I was not surprised though as he had been rehearsing how to be mad and speak with his nose for a decade. On one occasion and as the twang in his voice grew more nasal my Mum asked if it was his mad crave to Americanise himself that’s making him speak with his nose like someone who caught cold. Yet at the airport I could only see a 1970 Nigerian student returning home after his graduation from London carrying an afro hair style, pencil jeans, tight shirt, and a high heel shoes to match. How do I tell him he was a bit backward in his appearance and steps I asked myself, an instinct said it’s too early, he’ll find out and adjust.

As I drove along the A30 Heathrow airport road he began to narrate his experience at the British embassy in Lagos; he said “Visa process has been turned into a money spinner and a big scam to the detriment of poor Nigerians at the British High Commission. From the 1st of April 1 2007, a new visa fee was introduced with multiple visa applicant paying N52, 000 (£208); Single entry applicant (six month) paying N16, 400 (£65.6) and Transit applicant paying N11, 450 (£45.8).

All visa fees and charges are applicable to adults as well as children and, according to them, “not refundable under any circumstances” also Fees once paid into their G T Bank account would only be valid for 30 days.

He said Egbon, ordinarily, because of the queue completing and processing an application form should take about a month or, so you would imagine but that is just the genesis of the problem. According to their website which I confirmed, the UK Visa Application Centres are officially authorised by the British High Commission in Nigeria to accept applications for all categories of visas. The website he said stipulates that you are also advised to “take an appointment for visiting your nearest UK Visa Application Centre to turn in your application. This will help you significantly reduce waiting time as you will be assigned to a ‘Priority’ queue. “Applicants can also visit an application centre without an appointment; such applicants will be assigned to a regular queue. Please note that the number of applicants allowed into the regular queue may be restricted during peak periods for sake of crowd control. We strongly recommend that you visit an Application Centre by prior appointment, saving you unnecessary waiting time. You will particularly value the appointment facility during the peak season when long queues may be an occurrence.”

He said he was fortunate not to have paid the application fee twice. I fumed ‘why?’!&$£#*, ‘Egbon calm down’ he said ‘Let me tell you this …… my friends wife had filled the forms on-line for herself and the kids and after she coughed out N208, 000 (£832) that was paid into the UK High Commission GT Bank account, she was given a number to register on-line and the process was so burdensome that it took her several visits to the bank and many days. After successfully filling the form, she went to book an appointment and there was nothing on the website to help. Meanwhile, the 30 days were slipping away and at the end, she finally got her form to their centre only to be told the huge sums of money she paid into the UK High Commission bank account at GT Bank has ‘expired’! She thought it was a joke until she began to hear the tales of other many Nigerians who had fallen victims of the same scam, including her neighbour who had to pay twice too for their UK visas because the earlier fees paid ‘expired’…

… to be continued

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chima okocah March 10, 2010 - 8:39 am

sorry their number is Lawmans Solicitors 02086924487, fax 02086915444

chima okocah March 10, 2010 - 8:36 am

you should consult good immigration practitioner. Your benefit entitlement should not prejudice your spouse’s application. The law is in public dormain. Contact Lawmans Solicitors and ask for Luke, he will deal with this matter without difficulties.

Yemisi Toluhi October 19, 2009 - 1:48 pm

I believe this Toluhi is using the name as his 1st name not the popular surname from Kabba.

fredrick July 30, 2009 - 3:44 am

Nigerian Government is too matured to assist those who just want to be heard or gain popularity, that is why they are not doing anything about it my brother, ignore all that can be ignored. Have the world accepted God who created them,so why would i be surprised if Briton have fail to think and remember, before embarrassing them seems with cook up stories all the times, as if they are not racist, i wonder what good any Nigerian is expecting of them, so let them sayyyy

Ozaz April 1, 2009 - 6:32 am

Very unfair of the British high commission in Nigeria……………

kuko March 3, 2009 - 9:41 pm

I am a British trying to get my husband of 3 years with 2 kids into the UK for the past 2 years for settlement. He had a business visa which still had 5 years to run but we thought it better to get him settlement as we wanted to do things right. We first paid £250 for an application, which was turned down as they didn’t think I was capable of supporting him even though he had a job here. Second time we applied it had doubled £500 for application and was refused as they thought that seen as i was on working tax credit (even though if he was here i would still be entitled to it as i’m not reliant on benefit i work fulltime). Third time paid £500 again!!! refused again as they don’t beleive he is genuinely coming here to live with me even though we have kids together. They must be pissing themselves laughing at the money and frustration we are going through!!! I am a british but have now decided i hate living here i want to live in Nigeria, get my kids into some decent schooling learning properley not lamely and live a comfortable life.

Na me oo February 9, 2009 - 6:15 pm

i dont blame the UK for all this.They knew Nigerians are desperate and would do anything to get a Visa. we dont need to alert anybody, because the federal Govt knows bout it. the solution to this problem is to find a lasting solution to Nigeria’s problems. The money some people spend to travel out is enough for them to start a business or something…sowhat the heck! i blame nobody but Nigerians.we are our problems, young and old. the britons are only taking advantage of a damaged country.haha

ola solomon July 31, 2008 - 8:02 am

one should understand that places dont make people,but people make no matter how desperate you are in leaving your home land you should have it in mind that if you are a lizard in nija you can not be a crocodile else were.the first law of success says “first within then without” that is if you are not making it on your inside you can not make it out. for as a man thinks in his heart so is he.if you can change your perception to life you will make it no matter were you go.

on the other hand,if you are waiting for a confused creepling and self centered government who doesnt place value on an average nigeria’s life to take care of you then you will have to wait the day after 4eva!.this present govt cares for themselves and their mind your own business and fight your way through by taking charge of your life and praying for the lord to wipe out all the powers that be in human form and to raise faithful leaders. The British High Commission Scams is getting out of hand.i believe they cant be doing this if our very own gov is not also involve in scaming it own citizen by depriving and denying them of the beautiful things they are meant to enjoy as a nigerian.

if the gov can change from evil to good then they will be able to see that the british embassy is siphoning it economy.

9ja-2-BXL March 29, 2008 - 11:24 pm

It sadden that I am just discovering this website that has the intention of uniting Nigerian youths from every nook and cranny of the world. The British High Commission Scams is in fact getting out of hand as I write this, ok I reunited with my mother about 2 years ago and she possesses dual nationality and with the situation of things in Europe you are meant to be resident in the EEA for at least 3 years before you can submit an application requesting for a Belgian passport. To my utmost surprise The British High Commission in Brussels, Belgium has been collecting 350 euros from European residents with nationalities other than that of Europe. Like a commentator above pointed out that ‘419’ started with the Brits, I am beginning to believe that if not why should they be charging European resident with other nationalities 350 euros from their hardly earned minimum wages, tax aside o…I am proud to be an African and I am still keep the GWG (Green/White/Green) flag hanging out of my window every blessed day. God Bless Nigeria! Son of the soil reporting live from Brussels, Belgium.

FUNSHO TOLUHI December 12, 2007 - 10:17 am

Its about time someone did something about this British styled scam.Can this be legal'419'?

The Federal Governmemt of our great nation can reciprocate the British "KIND" gesture.

Lets call a spade by its name.

When it is perpetuated by a Nigerian,it is shouted all over the world,now the British has taken over,its time for us to do the shouting.


Which of the Toluhi's were your actually talking about?

Kandace November 16, 2007 - 10:36 pm

Well, this is a standard charge everywhere in here in China.. I was shocked when they told me i had to pay 3,200 RMB which is abt 50,000Naira, they actually sell their visas.. when we should be paying for the interview.. Well, if u know the UK, the economy runs on taxing the individuals and companies HEAVILY, so they just thot up a new way to generate more income from abroad… Crazy huh?

David September 9, 2007 - 8:13 am

INTERESTING…. I thought people didn't notice what the BHC does in Nigeria. It is a shame that the government doesn't have the time for things like these. What I suggest is that, Lawyers (who are Nigerians abroad), most especially in UK should stand up for this case. Left to the government here in Nigeria, THEY WILL NOT DO ANYTHING about it. They all have Diplomatic passports, and the only thing on their mind(s) now is to extend the validity of the diplomatic passport, if possible to 40 years!

We are all making good points and saying our mind here… Let me shock you, the percentage of Nigerian Leaders who knows is less than 0.0005%.

Expect nothing from a government where all the leaders doesn't think of the citizens.

Good write up. Keep the Nigerian flag flying….

kenyandream July 25, 2007 - 4:15 am

Their process is just inefficient. Having the same problem getting a UK visa from Kenya … and they do not seem to be bothered.

Tootsie June 17, 2007 - 5:50 pm

This is so painful i never even knew that this was going on! I feel so sorry for that lady who spent all that money and was told it had expired! Who is to say that they didn't delay it on purpose only to tell her she had to pay again? This is legalized scam. Our goverment don't care a thing about its citizens, if they did Nigeria will NOT be where it is today. My gut tells me that this will also be one of those cases that will draw no attention and no action to it. I hope they prove us all wrong and drastically do something about this. It is so unfair. I know quite a few people who do all kinds of stuff in UK it is a fulltime job for some people. But after reading this, who cares? Let them scam the heck out of the gullible idiots who fall for it. Nigerians are a bunch of intelligent people…if only it can be turned around and used for good. It is also sad to be denied a kenyan visa because of your Nationality; being Nigeria. Who wants to visit a 3rd world country anyways?? If we had the right people governing, who have the best interest of ALL Nigerians at heart, we will not be in this MESS. Other African countries will see 9ja as the 'AMERICA' in Africa. But becasue all these bad signs have eaten so deep into the fabric of our country, it will be hard to begin to rebuild and restore the country to where it once were or where it should be which is far, far better than where we are today. I believe that it will not be fixed in our generation. It has to start from somewhere and others will need to willingly follow suit to ensure a better 9ja. I'm still a PROUD Nigerian!!!!!!!!! Good or bad. The mother of a thief is still the mother of a thief. Once a 9ja, always a 9ja. There's hope for NIGERIA!

olusola laos June 11, 2007 - 6:59 am

we all the article are not bad at all,and i think most of them are for real,because nigeria citizen are not been fear with at all,maybe because of the way they put themself,nigeria as a nation is very rich,so i don't kn why we are not been treated with respect.

thewriter June 8, 2007 - 2:16 pm

Why should we be surprised? They are capitalists, and there are a lot of desperate Nigerians wanting to flee the misery in their country. I blame our govenment for not standing up for us.

Some may say we should turn the tables on them. But how many UK citizens are scrambling to get into Nigeria? At the end of the day we make it hard for Nigerians wishing to visit or return.

I heard from a first rate source that they make so much money off Nigerians its enough to fund their salaries and other expenses incurred. In other words, the home office in UK no longer sends money to Nigeria for their upkeep.

Julius June 6, 2007 - 3:37 pm

I weep whenever I read about stuff like this and I ask myself where is our government? This to me is legalized 419, what do you mean no refund, I understand the concept of no refund after been denied a visa but no refund when I didn't even go for an interview or get my applications in. This is totally unheard of, the Nigerian govt need to set up whatever they can set up and investigate this so that all the money already stolen should be refunded without further delay. Arrant nonsense.

Anonymous June 6, 2007 - 1:18 pm

Told you 419 started with Oyinbos…esp. Britain. No wonder people enter with vex and do scams there….not that I approve of that but you see their logic. Imagine! After paying that amount one enters and does dirty jobs there?! I will rather be a pepper seller in my country! crazy!

EnioluwaOpalekun June 6, 2007 - 9:56 am

“”Unfortunately, this was the same issue former Finance/Foreign Minister, our very distinguished Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was actually addressing before she was provoked into resigning her job in the last government and her successor never bothered to pursue the matter. Hopefully, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua will appoint a Foreign Affairs Minister who would ensure dignity for our people here at home before we even begin to talk of restoring our image abroad”.

– Olusegun Adeniyi – hisdayonline

Reply June 6, 2007 - 9:41 am

The shame of snoring nation.I was denied a Kenyan visa because of my nationality — Nigerian

Buba June 6, 2007 - 7:09 am

I wont take such nonsence, I would rather b*mb the place!

Adebisi (London) June 6, 2007 - 4:09 am


Do we charge British citizens such an amount to come to travel to Nigeria? How many other citizens of this world do they treat like that? If the Nigerian government cannot take a stand on this and defend the citizens of Nigeria, then we have a "LAME DUCK GOVERNMENT".


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