The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Adams Oshiomhole, has raised the alarm that prisoners from foreign countries are working at construction sites in Nigeria.
Oshiomhole spoke on Wednesday, when the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Interior for a budget defence session.
“Your ministry needs to regulate the issuance of the quotas very well as I have it on good authority that prisoners from foreign lands are working in Nigeria as construction workers”, Oshiomhole told the minister.
Oshiomhole, a former labour leader and Senator representing Edo North in the National Assembly, said though it was heartwarming that the ministry surpassed its revenue targets on the issuance of expatriate quotas, the policy was giving room for expatriates to steal jobs meant for Nigerians in Nigeria.
“Many non-Nigerians are in the country, some of them live inside containers. They were being paid according to their country’s minimum wage by the construction industry that brought them.
I don’t want to mention the companies’ names, but if I’m provoked, I’ll mention them”, said Oshiomhole.
But the minister, in his response, assured the committee that the ministry had already developed a project for job protection for Nigerians.
The project according to him, is the Expatriate Employee Network primarily aimed to safeguard jobs meant for Nigerians from being stolen by expatriates and also prevent expatriate workers from evading tax payment in Nigeria.
Tunji-Ojo, in his presentation, said the interior ministry surpassed its N600m budgetary target as it raked in N1.195bn by October.
The minister said the ministry leveraged the issuance of expatriate quotas to boost its revenue.
Tunji-Ojo said, “Aside from the projected revenue from expatriate quotas that had been surpassed by about N600m extra, the N380m projected revenue from marriage, has also been surpassed by over N500m with N892.7m realised as of October 31, 2023.”