Batswana women have been warned against entering into marriages of convenience with foreign nationals, which expose them to risks of being used.
The Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) director of crime intelligence, Nunu Lesetedi disclosed his concern to The Monitor following the arrest of three Nigerian men alleged to have been operating businesses or residing in Botswana illegally.
The trio, Uhuegbulem Chinedu, 32, Chikwado Obima Nnwaihwe, 27, and Gerald Chinagoro, 33, are currently in police custody following their arrest for either operating car dealership businesses or residing in Botswana illegally.
Lesetedi raised the concern, saying that it appears that more young women have misunderstood the concept of marriage, which exposes them to risks of being used by foreigners, who often only marry locals in order to acquire work, residential permits and citizenship. He said that it appears that it is no longer about love or being together as Batswana women are being targeted for marriages of convenience and later get divorced after foreigners have benefited.
He pleaded with young women to be on the lookout and avoid falling in love with men who claim to love them while all they want is to acquire Botswana citizenship. He said usually after a few years, the same women will be fighting for their ‘fake husbands’ to be deported after realising they have been fooled.
He said recently they arrested Nigerians operating businesses in Botswana, which most have acquired permits and licences for by using local women whilst the said women do not even benefit from such business profits.
“We have observed that foreigners come into Botswana and find it easy to ‘fall in love’ with Batswana women and trick them into fake marriages and later divorce them. Some of them promise them marriage whilst having families back home. We are pleading with Batswana women to be on the lookout to avoid being victims of marriage of convenience,” Lesetedi said.
He, however, said that he does not discourage marriage to foreigners, but warned local women to be careful when falling in love with foreigners as most of them have hidden agendas that have nothing to do with neither
“It concerns us as the police because our sisters expose themselves to danger because at times they might be living with terrorists, putting their lives at risk,” he said.
He said that some local women have the habit of habouring foreigners who have entered the country through ungazetted entries and go to the extent of helping them acquire business permits, something that is against the law.
“Since last year, we have been raiding local businesses operating without permits with some operated by foreigners and such locals will be charged for habouring these foreigners. Doing so denies locals the opportunity of venturing into business as the market is now saturated. We have observed that they are into money-laundering, their profits are not taxed as they do not bank their money, something which affects the country’s economy,” he said.
He revealed that amongst those that the police have recently arrested, one of them was deported years ago and they were shocked to recently arrest him whilst using a passport from Lesotho.
“He was deported years ago after engaging in illegal business, but we were shocked to find him in Botswana now using a passport from Lesotho with completely different names. Some come to Botswana claiming that they want to further their studies, enrol with private institutions, obtain permits and never attend school as they had claimed,” Lesetedi said.
Lesetedi added that this year alone they have already arrested 10 Nigerians with some having overstayed, entered the country illegally and operating illegal businesses.
“Even in the past we have been arresting Nigerians operating illegal businesses, but the sad part of the matter is that most of them are being harboured by locals, especially women claiming to be their partners,” Lesetedi said.