Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Chinese businessmen behind the massive illegal importation of textiles to Kano are to be deported from Nigeria. The fate of the businessmen was announced after a joint inspection visit to Kano by the Comptroller- General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi and the Comptroller – General of Immigration , David Parradang.
Five Chinese nationals were involved in the operation of illegal warehouses in Kano, where prohibited textile materials worth billions of Naira were uncovered by Customs anti-smuggling operatives. Comptroller- General of Immigration, David Parradang, OFR, disclosed that investigations by his Service revealed that three (3) out of the five Chinese nationals do not possess valid travel documents to reside and engage in any business in Nigeria beyond the scope of their admission. Immediate steps will therefore be taken to effect their deportation.
Investigations are still in progress to ascertain the immigration status of the other two Chinese nationals. The Comptroller-General further stated that the Service will intensify routine mop-up operations to ease out irregular immigrants. He added that those who are law-abiding and contribute to the national economic development through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and technology transfer will be encouraged and given every possible assistance.
Those involved in the illegal textile warehouse business are Gao Guoxu, aged 26 with passport No E12893246, Li Yang, 28 ,with Passport No E39324316 and Zhang Jiantao, 26 with Passport No E00078159. The rest are Zhao Shoumin, 26 with Passport No E32882412, and Zhou Jinxue, 35 with Passport No E23094307.
Reacting to insinuations that there are more foreign nationals doing illegal business in Nigeria, the CG Immigrations appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to oblige the Service information about such foreigners. Meanwhile, a team of Customs Valuation Officers are still collating the textile seizures to determine the quantity and value. Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi said the team has concluded the exercise in only one of the seven five warehouses that were sealed up by his men. Textiles items discovered in the warehouse according to him were valued at N4.2 billion.
He told reporters that the objective of the joint operation in Kano is about salvaging the national economy through the protection of the textile industry. He said the huge seizure made through intelligence network cultivated over a period of 3 months shows that some illegal foreigners are sabotaging Nigerian economy through their illegal business.
Responding to questions on how the Service will handle the seized textiles, the CG Customs stated that in view of its sheer volume, the Service will make report to the appropriate authorities of the Federal Government to seek direction. Two weeks ago, the CG anti- Smuggling unit stormed 6 warehouses in Gandun Albasa area of Kano, where textiles worth billions of Naira were uncovered.