November 16, 2015

NIS probes 2 Koreans over alleged violation of expatriate quota laws

The Bayelsa State Command of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, says it has started investigations into the immigration status of two Koreans working for an oil servicing firm in the state.

Mr. Sule Wunti, the state Comptroller of NIS, said in Yenagoa on Sunday, that the investigation was as a result of a petition by the state government.

“We started investigations on the matter after receiving a written complaint on the status of the two Korean expatriates.

“We have equally informed our headquarters in Abuja and we must get to the root of the matter. We have also invited the expatriates for an interview and they pledged to come on November 17. Therefore, our investigations are underway,” Wunti said.

Mr. Basil Kenbo, the Senior Special Assistant on Oil and Gas to the Bayelsa State Governor, alleged that the expatriates, who were working for Daewoo Nigeria Limited, had irregular work permits.

Kenbo, in a letter to the NIS and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, on November 6, gave the names of the expatriates as Mr I. S Seo and Mr Park Seo-Young.

He urged the NIS to carry out comprehensive investigations into their true immigration status.

Kenbo, who decried the abuse of Nigerian labour laws by the two foreigners, accused them of taking undue advantage of their stay in Nigeria by doing jobs which Nigerians had abundant expertise for.

He alleged that Seo had been using his position in the company to cause communal crisis in Obunagha, the host community of the Liquefied Natural Gas projects in Yenagoa.

“Besides, Seo has been operating with false documentation, contrary to the terms of entry into Nigeria.

“It is a fact that Seo was granted entry into Nigeria by the NIS over 20 years ago as a technician; but quite amazingly, he took appointments as Administrative Manager and Community Affairs Manager respectively, in the company at different times in the last 20 years.

“Yet a worrisome and devastating development under the unholy administration of Seo as the Community Affairs Manager is his deliberate refusal to comply with and implement Freedom to Operate, FTO, agreements, thus escalating the crisis between youths, communities and the company.

“It is against this background that I write to demand thorough scrutiny and review of the expatriate quota of the company, with specific reference to the position of Community Affairs Manager.

“NIS should check the permit authorising Mr. Seo’s entry into Nigeria and his work. This should be reviewed for the purposes of effective monitoring and accountability for national development,” Kenbo said.

Reacting to the issues raised in the petition, Mr Bernard James, Acting Community Affairs Manager, Infill Project, Daewoo Nigeria Limited, Gbarain, Bayelsa, argued that the company enjoyed good relations with its host communities.

James, who doubles as the Coordinator of Daewoo projects in Bayelsa, denied allegations that the company had issues with its host communities..

“Since I assumed office as the Acting Community Affairs Manager of the company in May 2015, there has been a cordial relationship between the company and the host communities,” he said.