The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has challenged the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to provide accurate data of expatriates to check loss of revenue.
The governor made the call when the Comptroller Immigration Services, Delta state Command, Mr. Baba Ali Zakari led officials of the agency to pay him a courtesy visit in Asaba, the state capital.
Governor Okowa who was surprised that the Immigration Service had accurate records of expatriates in Delta state, observed that such should be made available to the state Board of Internal Revenue Service to ensure that revenue accruing to the state and the country is not lost.
“I am glad that we are monitoring and supervising the expatriates quota in the state because, sometimes we hear about expatriates coming in, they work and live here because proper records are not kept on them.
“The state and nation loses in terms of revenue that is derivable from taxes that are supposed to be paid by them; so, I am glad that the Immigration Service has given us the number of expatriates in the state at the moment and the Board of Internal Revenue will look into its records to ensure that it correlates with your records and if it does, we can take it up immediately because, we know that there are sharp practices by some of our companies that are involved in the oil sector,” Governor Okowa said.
The governor also used the occasion to state that with active Immigration Service, crime rates would be reduced, especially in Delta state where the Police has noticed that most of the crime committed in the state were by foreigners.
“We are very much aware that there is a lot of work for the Immigration Service to do and that there is greater need to continue to monitor immigrants who are within the various localities in the state.
“I am glad to hear that you have officers distributed through the local government areas because, we know that crime rate is increasing now and it is time for us to become more cautious about allowing people come into our states.
“We know that the law in Nigeria allows us to move freely but, it is important that the people who come into our state are properly documented because, recently, some criminals that were caught, some of them are foreigners as the Commissioner of Police did report to me”, he expressed.
The Governor, however, charged Immigration to step up its activities on checking human trafficking in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Zakari said the visit was to brief the Governor and members of the State Executive council of the activities of the Immigration Service in the state.
He commended Governor Okowa’s administration for its numerous assistance to the agency, “We thank you for the construction of access roads to the Immigration Office in the state, and we also appreciate your commitment towards ensuring security of lives and property in the state, the Immigration Service will not relent in repatriating illegal immigrants in the state”.