Canning Town couple jailed for marriage scam

Nigerians in marriages of convenience to stay in UK

A Nigerian couple who took part in marriages of convenience with Dutch nationals to remain in Britain have been jailed for a total of four years.

Glory Odigie, 38, tied the knot with two Dutch women so he could stay in the country and arranged for a man from the Netherlands to wed partner, Julie Odigie, 35. Both of Nicholls Point, Park Grove, Stratford.

Prosecutor Christian Moll said Glory Odigie had arranging for the travel of Dutch nationals to travel to the UK to enter into marriages of convenience.

Odigie was born in Nigeria and came to the UK from Sierra Leone in September 2001. On arrival he applied for asylum and was issued with a work permit and he began working with London Underground as a protection master.

In June 2004 he arranged for Dutch national Nathalie Polak to travel to the UK. They married and lived together in Ling Road, Canning Town. Odigie was granted residency in January 2008, after a failed application in 2005.

He then submitted a third application for permanent residency, which was granted in October 2010.

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“During this period and in his attempts to gain UK residency, Mr Odigie used the alias “Glory John”, said Mr Moll. It was using that name that he married Rigchelviana Constancia, another Dutch national.

“In his police interview he said that he had been granted residence on the basis of his marriage to Ms Polak, but whilst in Nigeria he had received a series of calls stating the rules had changed and then when he returned in April his employer said he couldn’t employ him anymore because his asylum case had ended,” Mr Moll added.

Mr Odigie accepted that he had paid the air fare for Ivor Abrahamsz to travel to the UK to marry Ms Odigie, 35, so she could gain permission from the authorities to lawfully remain in the UK.

An application was made by Ms Odigie to the Home Office for residence and it was granted on April 2010.

Once in the country she fell pregnant to Mr Odigie and assumed the identity of Ms Polak so she could take advantage of free NHS care.

Judge William Kennedy said: “It isn’t possible for everyone who wants to come to come and for that reason many tens of thousands of people wait patiently and hopefully in line for the opportunity to arrive here legally and fairly. Those who try to jump the queue commit a serious offence.”

Glory Odigie admitted conspiracy to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person and bigamy. He also admitted seeking to remain in the UK by deceptive means.

He was jailed for three years for the first count to run concurrently with sentences of 12 months, 18 months and 12 months imprisonment, respectively, for the other counts.

Ms Odigie, a mother-of two sons, admitted seeking or obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.

She was sentenced to 12 months jail for the first count and seven months on the second, to run concurrently.

Both now face deportation to Nigeria once their sentences have been served.