‘Probe Chinese prisoners’ incursion into Nigeria’

A leading pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Nigeria, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the National Assembly to investigate claims that Chinese company in Nigeria recruit convicts from their country in Nigeria as technicians.

This followed what it called an extensively damaging public admission by a committee of the House of Representatives that Chinese companies in Nigeria were bringing in prison inmates from China to work as expatriates on many lucrative construction sites paid for by Nigeria.

HURIWA urged the National Assembly to name and shame public officials facilitating such illegality.

Its National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Director of Media, Miss Zainab Yusuf, also urged the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to respond to the allegation that expatriate quota was granted to Chinese prisoners.

According to the NGO, over 200,000 unemployed Nigerian graduates have petitioned it with a demand that the Federal Government investigate the scam and prosecute indicted officials.

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In its statement, HURIWA said: “We are petitioning to stand against the illegal immigration of large numbers of Chinese prisoners into Nigeria as expatriates; in turn, taking slots meant to accommodate graduates in the Labour force of the nation.

“A House of Representatives member representing Gumel, Gagarawa, Maigateri and Sule Tankarkar Federal Constituency of Jigawa State, Sani Zoro, raised the alarm of incessant importation of Chinese prisoners to work in foreign companies in Nigeria. The lawmaker, who stated that Chinese prisoners were often conveyed into the country as expatriates, accused the NIS of complicity in the immigration breaches.

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“Surprisingly, NIS Deputy Controller Immigration (DCI) James Sunday denied the allegation against the service. He insisted that the claim remained an unfounded allegation. He said the statutory responsibility of Immigration on movement of immigrants had never been compromised.

“The Controller General of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, has affirmed in December 2018 that porous borders on the nation’s territory still remain a major challenge bedeviling the success of NIS. He said “we still have unsecured borders”.

He regretted the inability of Immigration to render maximum control of the 140 recognized land borders in the country.

This is a clear indication that illegal immigrants are much in the country. The country’s unemployment rate worsened in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3,2018), rising from 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, the labour report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has shown.

According to the Labour Force Statistics-Volume I released December 2018, the total number of people classified as unemployed which means they did nothing at all or worked for a few hours (under 20 hours a week) rose from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

The economically active or working age population (15 -64 years of) also increased from 111.1 million in Q3, 2017 to 115.5 million in Q3, 2018.

The report also showed that the labour force, which is the number of people who are able and willing to work rose to 90.5 million in Q3, 2018 from 75.94 million in Q3, 2015.

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It was 80.66 million in Q3 2016 and 85.1 million in Q3, 2017, the NBS’ report stated.

According to the statistical agency, the total number of people in part-time employment (or under-employment) however, rose to 18.21 million in Q3 2018, from 13.20 million in Q3 2015, 11.19 million in Q3 2016 and 18.02 million in Q3 2017.

The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) also increased from 51.1 million in Q3 2017 to 51.3 million in Q3, 2018, the report said.

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