Nigerians Jailed In UK For Sham Marriage Scam

At least 10 foreign nationals, many of them Nigerians have been jailed in the United Kingdom (UK) over alleged involvement in sham marriage scam.

They were found guilty of trying to organize an international sham marriage conspiracy with the church in Nottingham.

The scam first came to light after a UK Border Agency officers stopped a suspected sham marriage between Dutch national Ramsley De Kaster and a Nigerian Folfolashade Ladapo, at St Stephen’s with St Paul’s Church, Bobbersmill Road, Nottingham on October 10, 2010.

The bogus bride and groom pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law. They were jailed for 12 months and 18 months respectively on October 25, 2010.

A specialist UK Border Agency crime team, comprised of immigration and seconded police officers, started an investigation which uncovered 16 sham marriages that had taken place at St Aiden’s Church in Baseford, Nottingham involving Dutch and Nigerian nationals.

On March 2, last year officers swooped on addresses in Nottingham, London and Kent. Dutch police officers also raided addresses in Rotterdam and Tilburg on the same day.

The suspected ringleader, Phillips Onikoyi, a 34-year-old Nigerian was arrested in Nottingham along with suspected bogus brides, and fellow Nigerian nationals, Esther Abiola Idowu, 31, and Olujamoki Ikoyi, 29.

Isaac Onikoyi, a 22-year-old Nigerian man, was arrested in Ramsgate on March 2, last year while another Nigerian, Olushola Oshingbade, 40, was arrested in Lewisham a few weeks later.

Wensley Quirindongo, a 37-year-old Dutch man, was also arrested in the Netherlands on the same day. Four other Dutch nationals were arrested in a follow-up operation in the Netherlands on March 16, last year: Ediselle Barrimond, 26, Ulrich Toppenberg, 41, Charlton Macaay, 29, and Shamazaira Castillo, 26.

All five Dutch nationals were extradited to the UK to stand trial along with the other five suspects.

On September 19, 2011 all of those charged pleaded guilty except Olujamoki Ikoyi.

Onikoyi (Phillips), of Stanley Road, Nottingham, was sentenced to five years; Idowu, of Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, Onikoyi (Isaac) and Olushola Oshingbade got 12 months each, while the five Dutch nationals were sentenced to 18 months each.

These details could not be made public at the time, though as the judge imposed reporting restrictions until the trial of Olujamoki Ikoyi had taken place.

Ikoyi has taken part in a sham marriage at St Paul’s Church, Carlton, Nottingham.

Yesterday at Leicester Crown Court, Ikoyi was found guilty of conspiracy to breach immigration law and sentenced to two years.

Pete Copple, from the UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team, said:

“We are pleased that this major international investigation has resulted in significant sentences being handed down to all members of this organised crime group who attempted to breach immigration law.

“We will continue to crack down on criminal gangs that try to profit from organising sham marriages. Anyone attempting to benefit illegally from the privileges of life in the UK faces prison and deportation.”

The judge praised the UK Border Agency officers for a very thorough and comprehensive investigation into a wide-ranging international conspiracy.

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