A dozen ‘Air Peace passengers’ held at Immigration Department Detention Centre, sources confirm

Following reports that about 12 West Africans were being held by the Immigration Department at its Detention Centre in Coolidge, sources confirmed to REAL News that this was, indeed, the case up to Sunday.

However, they allege that one of the detainees had since been released into the custody of a female, a Guyanese national.

These persons were among the reported 130 passengers on the Air Peace charter that arrived early Saturday night, August 5, from Lagos.

The sources claim the authorities suspected that some Ghananians in the group had acquired Cameroonian passports – for the ultimate purpose of seeking asylum – while some with  Nigerian passports might have traveled here with plans to migrate.

The sources further allege that close to 200 applicants for E-visas were denied, and, reportedly, some of the detainees did not have visas to enter this country.  How they managed to get onto the flight, therefore, is not known.

One official is complaining that, instead of detaining the suspects and sending them back, the impostors rightly should be charged.

Other persons tell our Newsroom that Nigerians already living in Antigua had sent for relatives with the intention of the new arrivals taking up residence here. 

However, it is alleged that these persons were advised they could stay only at designated hotel properties – including one owned by a female radio personality and vocal supporter of the prime minister – and must leave on the return flight.

Meanwhile, it was also alleged that the chartered aircraft remains on the ground here and will be departing on Wednesday – instead of Tuesday, as had been announced. 

Up to Monday, August 7, there had been no official word on the investment summit.  But other media have reported that an Air Peace official said the airline is looking to commence commercial flights between Nigeria and Antigua and Barbuda, and is hoping to attract other investors from the West African nation, especially to opportunities in the tourism sector.

The 16 cultural artistes who arrived on the flight staged a performance at Sunday night’s Soca Monarch Competition – reportedly without many audience members even being aware of who they were and with the online audience being highly critical of of the exhibition.