Nigerian-born Abiola Kumoye and Ayodeji Abbis have been jailed after admitting their part in the elaborate plot to keep fellow Nigerian and University of Hull masters student Jayeola Abiola in the UK by holding a sham wedding held in Hull, East Yorkshire.
The 27-year-old denied knowing it was a sham or that he was paid £1,000, claiming the money was owed to him by an associate of Abiola.
Prosecutor Edward Bindloss said: ‘Was it a coincidence the money was paid in to his account on the same day of the wedding?
‘This was his reward for being a valued and important part of that sham marriage. He was the best man for a complete stranger and there to make money.’
Abiola faced being booted out of Britain because his visa was running out and had planned to pay others £5,000 for organising the wedding at Hull’s Guildhall.
He even picked Celine Dion’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face as the wedding song for the big day.
Father-of-two, Kumoye, 34, was paid £2,150 by Abiola for ‘luring’ the bride, Portuguese-born Vania Pinheiro-Fernandes and providing her with his ex-wife’s passport.
Kumoye (pictured below) and Pinheiro-Fernandes then travelled in convoy with Abbis from Leeds to Hull on the day of the wedding, stopping off at British Home Stores to pick up her wedding dress and tiara.
When the wedding party arrived UK Border Agency officers, who were tipped off by a suspicious Hull registrar after the couple seemed to barely know each other during their rehearsal interview, were waiting.
Kumoye and Abbis were arrested and charged with conspiracy to breach immigration laws in January.
The bride and groom were jailed for eight and 12 months respectively.
Abbis was sentenced to eight months while Kumoye was jailed for 16 months.
Judge Singh said: ‘If it wasn’t for the eagle-eyed registrar, it would have gone ahead, everything was planned.
‘The groom had even chosen the rather apt song of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. This offence strikes at the heart of immigration and marriage itself.’