By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Source from the Nigeria Immigration Service, Anambra State Command has exonerated the Command from allegation of collecting three million naira monthly from two foreigners illegally residing in the state. The sources also cleared the air on the residency of the foreigners and the circumstances surrounding the allegations.
It would be recalled that some business moguls in Anambra State recently appointed accusing fingers on the State Comptroller of Immigration, Mr. Edirni Okoto and his Command for allegedly aiding, abetting and shielding Mr. Yingiyi Wei and Lousie Wanhe (a.k.a Lewis Wanhu), who were accused to be illegally residing and trading in Onitsha, Anambra State while masquerading themselves as staff of a suspected dubious moribund limited liability company under the initial of West Shark Nig. Ltd. (popularly known as the Shark)
It was gathered that Mr. Yingiyi Wei and Lousie Wanhe (a.k.a Lewis Wanhu) were brought into Nigeria as technicians by a Chinese firm, Chinaphoneix Nigeria Limited, but the duo criminally converted themselves as business partners under the alleged supervision of the State NIS Comptroller.
According to sources, Mr. Yingiyi Wei has his visa number as ED5313910 and Permit number as F0299606, but instead of abiding by the laws of the land, he allegedly left what was contained in his residence permit and engaged in an another different business in the Anambra State, thus, making him an illegal immigrant.
It was also alleged that in a bid to shield the Chinese people from embarrassment while transacting their private business even as known illegal immigrants, the Anambra Comptroller of Immigration allegedly went into a secret agreement with the Chinese people who accepted to pay him three million naira monthly; an alleged agreement the gentlemen were said to have have been keeping.
However, when contacted by this reporter, Izunna Okafor, for clarifications, sources from the Anambra State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service who pleaded anonymity, said the Command was aware that Chinaohoneix brought Mr. Yingiyi Wei and Lousie Wanhe into the country, but however wondered why people could accuse the Command of aiding and abetting the Chinese nationals.
“We are very much abreast that Mr. Yingiyi Wei is a Chinese national who came into Nigeria through the normal Immigration laws. They have their permit and visa, and without the firm that brought them into the county complaining otherwise, they should not be regarded as immigrants,” one if the sources said.
On the Three Million Naira gratification, the source said, “Since the documents of Mr. Yingiyi Wei and Lousie Wanhe are known to the laws of the Immigration and still valid, what could make the Command collect a dime or the said sum from them as gratification? Just imagine such unfounded allegation. Without doubt, I see this baseless allegation as a way to distance the Command from rendering an assistant to the accused illegal immigrants, should they require any assistance from the Command.”
Contributing, another source from the Command (name withheld) who also has knowledge of the matter, explained unequivocally that the Chinese partners came into Nigeria with their complete documents, adding that the issue of change of business name is strictly the duties of the Ministry of Interior, and not that of the Immigration Service. He therefore wondered why one could just wake up and start levelling such unfounded allegations against the State’s Immigration.
Declining to comment further on the controversial issue, the source, who reminded this reporter that the NIS authorities barred them and even the State Comptrollers from talking to the press, referred this reporter to the Immigration Service Headquarters in Abuja for more clarifications.
On his own part, a popular trader in Onitsha who said he had been following the matter, describe it as attempts by the original company that brought the Chinese nationals into Nigeria to see that they are repatriated back to China since they are no longer in good terms. The trader, however, condemned the company’s extremism in achieving their aim, stressing that they went too far by accusing the Anambra State Command of the Immigration Service and labelling some unfounded allegations against the Comptroller.
As at the time of this publication, it was not certain if the Anambra State business tycoons who were accusing the Command had filed a suit at the Federal High Court, as they boasted that they were going to approach the Court, where they would pray, among other things, to declare the Chinese partners as illegal aliens and also to prosecute the officers and men of the State Immigration Services as the suspected shielders of the ‘illegal aliens’.