70 per cent of Nigerians living in Turkey are illegal immigrants, says Diaspora Group
About 70 per cent of Nigerians presently living in Turkey are undocumented migrants whose Visa or residency has expired, the Vice President, Nigerian Community in Turkey, Enifome Ubogu has said.
Ubogu disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, saying 600,000 Nigerians, including those studying, are currently residing in Turkey.
Ubogu, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Vuslat and Fome Nigeria Limited, spoke in the aftermath of the two-day Nigerians in Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) in Abuja.
Noting that most Nigerians in Turkey had refused to renew their residency or return to Nigeria after the expiration of their visa, he cautioned Nigerians, especially the youths on the risks of illegal migration.
“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,” Ubogu said.
“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.”
On calls by the federal government for more diaspora investment, he stressed the need for government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He described the focus of the government on Diaspora Direct Investment over foreign direct investment as a step in the right direction, noting that the initiative would give more citizens abroad the confidence to invest in the country.
“Yearly, Nigerians in Turkey make about $20m remittance to Nigeria. But what is the output of these investments? Most times, we hear a lot about situation where people send money to their relatives for investment but the money is diverted for other purposes,” Ubogu said.
“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 called on the government to ensure uniformity of foreign exchange (forex), noting that multiple exchange rates would hinder diaspora investment.
“Aside logistics challenges, 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,” Ubogu said.