The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, on Wednesday, announced the revocation of residence permits of expatriate workers in Intels Nigeria Limited and five other international companies operating in Nigeria.
Aside Intels, other firms affected by the directive included PRODECO International Ltd., West Africa Machinery Services Ltd., Net Global System International Ltd., MGM Logistics Solutions Ltd., and ORIEAN Investment Ltd.
Former Nigeria’s Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has a substantial ownership in Intels and analysts say since it started becoming clear that he may run for presidency come 2019, several federal agencies have been taking turns in annihilating his interests especially in Intels.
NIS action can be said to be the forth agency attack on Intels.
First, was the sudden demand of payment of royalties to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which was hurriedly followed by an advice from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami to terminate Intels Pilotage Agreement that has been running for years.
It is important to recall that this cancelation came at a time both parties are closing in on amicable understanding.
As a crisis management strategy, the core investor, an Italian, Mr. Simone Volpi hurriedly arrived Nigeria and started peace process.
As if that was not enough, within the same crisis period, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), descended on the same port concessionaire, sealing several operations terminals and offices on grounds tax related issues.
Industry analysts had expected the government to look at the age long complain of Intels which is rising illegalities on mid-sea discharge of cargoes being perpetrated by some contenders in Free Zone activities, a dangerous assault on the operations of Intels.
The company had been complaining of this practice, but no attention was given to that for more than five years of this high sea crime within the territorial waters of Nigeria by some known companies.
Mid last month, another trouble emerged for the same Intels. This time, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), has not only alleged that Intels is yet to renew her licence, but ordered a comprehensive audit of a decade of its operations (2006-2016).
With the emergence of another trouble for Intels from NIS, the agency now becomes the fourth in the observed serial attacks coming from government institutions in a space of two to three months.
The statement issued by NIS noted that all the affected workers are to leave the country on or before November 30, 2017 failing which they may be deported.
Public Relations Officer of NIS, Sunday James, said the revocation was in the exercise of the powers vested on the CG in Section 39 sub-section 1 of Immigration Act 2015 and Section 5, sub-section 5 of the Immigration Regulation, 2017.
NIS noted that the revocation of the expatriates’ residence permits stemmed from the withdrawal of the operational licenses of their employers by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority.
The statement further averred that “Consequently, the CGI has directed that the expatriate staff of the affected companies leave Nigeria not later than November 30, 2017, failure of which they might be recommended to the Minister of Interior for deportation.”