From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, has expressed concern over Chinese who venture into retail businesses in Nigerian markets, describing citizens who protect such foreigners as unpatriotic.
Babandede said this at the presidential villa, Abuja Friday after he brief President Muhammadu Buhari on activities of the service, revealing to State House Correspondents that NIS had been charged to protect Nigerian jobs.
Responding to a question on the presence of Chinese in Nigerians markets, he said: “That is even the biggest issue. Even last Monday, I raised this issue in Kano where they are into retail business in textile shops and other businesses.
“We need to be more patriotic. A situation where citizens give protection to Chinese and allow them in to retail businesses is a crime. A serious one for that matter.”
Babandede said the service has also been directed to make sure the nation’s borders are more secure, saying that foreigners would monitored to ensure they do not violate the conditions of their visa.
He said: “I’m in the State House today to brief Mr President because he has tasked us individually as an agency to see what we can do to make Nigeria safer, greater and more attractive.
“As we are all aware, NIS is a security agency that is responsible for borders. At the same time, it is an agency that contributes to the ease of doing business.
“So, today, I’ve been able to brief Mr. President on what we are doing. And he has given me additional responsibilities on what we can do to make this country safer, better.
“Nigerians should be happier that the borders will be safer now than before. And efforts will be made to make sure there are no counter-crossing across our borders. And all persons who are in our country, who are non Nigerians, we must monitor to see what they’re doing that are of benefit to this country.
“As you are aware, each person enters Nigeria with a condition, whether to do a business or to establish a business but not to take the business of Nigerians.
“So, Mr. President has tasked us to make sure we look at this issue deeply to make sure that Nigerian labour is protected, Nigerian economy is protected, not taken away by foreigners who just come to do business and take away the money and not to invest.
“I’m glad to say that Mr. President has tasked us further. I may not be able to reveal those tasks. But we’ll do our best to keep Nigeria safer through effective borders management and control and after entry control so that we can control those who enter our territory without doing something else, which they have not agreed to do when they applied for visas.”
He pointed out that there was increased security threat in the country, saying that the borders contribute to it.
“Everyone knows there is a security threat in the country and our borders are contributing to insecurity, more especially our borders. With Niger, Benin and Cameroon, it has become imperative to man our borders more effectively,” he stated.
On how the new task may affect ECOWAS protocols on free movement, the Immigration boss explained: “We have already notified our officers that every member of the ECOWAS must register after staying in the country for 80 days.
“ECOWAS protocols stipulate that you must follow proper routes and you must register and must have valid pasport. it is not about unregulated movement.
“We have prosecuted so many people, jailing them two and three years on illegal ECOWAS movement.”