Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nigeria deports 25 Chinese

About 25 Chinese with irregular resident permits have been sent packing by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

Comptroller General of Immigration, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, who disclosed this, while briefing the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, also said about 400,000 foreigners were residing in the country.

Uzoma told the Senator Dahiru Kuta-led committee during a visit to the NIS headquarters in Abuja, that Nigeria was less attractive for foreign investors when compared to other African countries like Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Kenya.

She said: "You have heard so much about Chinese staying illegally in Nigeria, we do remove Chinese regularly. If we discover them we remove them, last week we removed 25 Chinese, we depot those who commit crimes.

"I am not saying that you cannot find one or two foreigners who are not living here on regular immigration status. But, again, there is no country in the world where you cannot find such people.

"Seeing foreigners on the streets of Nigeria does not mean that they are of irregular status. Most of them are legal residents. Distinguished Senators, there are not many foreigners in Nigeria. We have well over just 300, 000 legally resident in Nigeria in a population of over 160 million people.

"Those of us who travel, when you are coming back to Nigeria, I am sure you can count the numbers of foreigners in the aircraft. Nigeria is not yet a destination of choice. You see foreigners in Senegal, there are more in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and other places' you see lots of tourists there."

The Comptroller General who also responded to the Senators' query on the rising incidents of human trafficking in Nigeria said the NIS is encumbered by inadequate staff and finance to tackle the menace.

She added that with about 23000 staff, the NIS cannot properly man the nations land borders, but added that the international airports have been properly upgraded to combat any attempt at trafficking.

"We have secured our international airports; it is very difficult for those people to go through the airport. But our land borders still remain porous. The strength of any security outfit depends on the strength men and logistics. If you secure the international airports, they will go through the land borders."

In his closing remarks, a member of the committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, echoed the chairman in commending the NIS, but added that the committee would ensure that the service adheres strictly to federal character principles.

This, he said, would create sense of belonging amongst all Nigeria, despite adding that it is not intention of the committee that merits and standard should be traded for federal character principle.

"Because of the crucial nature of your assignment, we do not want efficiency to be sacrificed for efficacy of federal character. If we are not efficient in our borders, we will be in trouble," Chukwumerije said.

This Day

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