BY INALEGWU SHAIBU
ABUJA—Federal Government has deported 25 Chinese from the country as it emerged that 300,000 foreigners living in Nigeria were registered by the Nigerian Immigration Service
Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, who said this during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, however, lamented that Nigeria had become less attractive for foreign investors.
She told the Senator Dahiru Kuta-led committee that less foreign investment was coming into the country, compared to 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 deport those who commit crimes.
“I am not saying that you cannot find one or two foreigners who are not living here on irregular immigration status. But again, there is no country in the world where you cannot find such people,” she added.
“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 number 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 a lot of tourists there.”
The comptroller-general, who also responded to the senators on the rising incidences of human trafficking in Nigeria, said the NIS was encumbered by inadequate staff and finance to tackle the menace.
She said with only about 23,000 staff, the NIS could not properly man the nation’s 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,” she said.
A member of the committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, in his closing remarks, commended the NIS but added that the committee would ensure that the service adhered strictly to federal character principles.
This, he said, will create a sense of belonging amongst all Nigerian, adding that it was not the intention of the committee that merits and standard should be traded for federal character principle.
His words: “Because of the crucial nature of your assignment, we do not want efficiency to be sacrifice for efficacy of federal character, if we are not efficient in our borders, will be in trouble.”