70% of Nigerians in Turkey are illegal immigrants – Group

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About 70 per cent of Nigerians resident in Turkey are undocumented migrants whose papers or residency permits have expired, international businessman and Vice President of Nigerian Community in Turkey, Enifome Ubogu, said on Thursday.

According to him, about 600,000 Nigerians, including students, were currently residing in Turkey.

Ubogu, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Vuslat and Fome Nigeria Limited, stated these in an interview with journalists in his office in Abuja after a two-day Nigerians in Diaspora Investment Summit organized by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

While stating that most Nigerians in Turkey had refused to renew their residency or return to Nigeria after the expiration of their visa, he warned Nigerians, especially the youths on the risks of illegal migration.

Ubogu said, “Turkey is a very lovely country. The government hardly deports illegal immigrants perhaps due to the fact that it takes a lot of documentary works to do that. Nigerians should know that when you go to a country, the first thing you do is to make sure you are legitimate in the country.

“Most of Nigerians living in Turkey like 70 per cent are undocumented. Some have expired residency or visa. We Nigerians create these problems for ourselves because we know what we do. The Nigerian government won’t come to Turkey to force the country to give us residency.

“Nigerians abroad should always follow the right protocol to get a valid residency.”

Speaking on demands by the Federal Government for more diaspora investment, he stressed the need for government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Ubogu described the focus by the government on Diaspora Direct Investment over foreign direct investment as a step in the right direction.

 

According to him, the initiative would give more citizens abroad the confidence to invest in the country.

“Yearly, Nigerians in Turkey make about $20 million remittance to Nigeria. But what is the output of these investments? Most times, we hear a lot about situations where people send money to their relatives for investment but the money is diverted for other purposes.

“But this NDIS platform, if harnessed properly, would make investors more confident in bringing their money to the country knowing that they are safe”, he said.

Ubogu called on the government to ensure uniformity of foreign exchange (Forex), adding that multiple exchange rates would hinder diaspora investment.

“Aside from logistics challenges, the exchange rate is also a problem. Until we unify our exchange rate, there will always be a problem. We need to get a universal rate where everyone would be treated equally. People go to the extent of establishing offshore companies to beat the system but we can still capture all those revenues by having a single exchange rate,” he emphasised.

•PUNCH