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Jayeola Abiola is not so much a hopeless romantic, as he is a man trying to escape extradition back to his home country. In order to stay in the UK, the 29 year old thought he’d marry a citizen, but the faux nuptials were doomed when Abiola had trouble pronouncing his soon-to-be bride’s Portuguese name…because he was meeting her for the very first time.

The couple’s first encounter took place on their wedding rehearsal late last year. Abiola, a student at Leed’s University paid  Vania Pinheiro-Fernandes  to wed, and gave a friend some money to act as the best man. Unbeknownst to everyone involved, the UK Border Agency was tipped off when neither were convincing during their interview with officials. Furthermore, Celine’s Dion’s “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” was chosen for the wedding march.

This week both were sentenced to jail time, Abiola recieved a year and Pinheiro-Fernandes  got eight months.

From PM News Nigeria:

The duo met in a dance rehearsal and Abiola could barely pronounce her name, but he gave her $245 (N39,561) to get the things she needed for the wedding, while another Nigerian, Ayodeji Abbis, was paid £1,000 (N244,787) to act as the best man.

The wedding plans, however, went bad when the registrar at Hull Registry alerted the UK Border Agency that the couple about to get married barely know themselves when they were interviewed.

The border agency then secretly filmed the wedding videos of the cars, groom, bride and best man as they were leaving the hall before arresting them.

Gurdial Singh of the Hull Crown Court: said: “It is often said that sham marriages are too prevalent and strike at the heart of the country’s immigration system.”

Abiola, a 29 year old law student at Hull University and Pinheiro-Fernandes, also 29, appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law by arranging a marriage so Abiola could remain in the UK.


“You Abiola were in danger of becoming unable to stay in this country. It was ultimately a sham marriage and you were prepared to pay for it,” said Gurdial Singh of the Hull Crown Court.’It was not a question of family and friends wishing to indulge love, to do you a favour.”

The would-be-bride didn’t get off easy either. “You Pinheiro-Fernandes played your part and were to be the bride. You went along with this and bought the dress turning up at the ceremony.”

Abiola’s vis was due to expire in January 2013. His wedding “fixer,” 34-year-old Abiola Kumoye, cried in court as he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach immigration law and acquiring criminal property, for accepting money  from his friend. Meanwhile the “best man” denied any knowledge of the plan.

The wedding was to cost £5,000 ($7,596) half of which was paid beforehand.


Photo: UK Daily Mail