Save Us From Deportation, Nigerians In Gabon Beg Jonathan


ABUJA, July 21, (THEWILL) - Nigerian nationals in Gabon have appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to prevail on the Gabonese authorities to suspend its threat to repatriate Nigerians in their country.

They called on the president to pay a state visit to the small French speaking country or send emissaries to the Gabonese president to streamline the relationship between the two countries adding that there are various areas both nations could collaborate.

President of the Nigerian Community in Gabon, Babatunde Yekini who made the appeal when he led a delegation of the body to the House of Representatives said the activities of illegal immigrants from Nigeria who are spread across the nine provinces of Gabon was creating a rift between them and authorities.

He disclosed that the Gabonese authorities have threatened to deport all Nigerians living in the country if the over 200,000 thousand illegal Nigerian immigrants fail to vacate by December this year.

Yekini noted that the Nigerian borders at Oron and Eket in Akwa Ibom were being used as transit routes by both Nigerian nationals and other neighbouring countries to migrate enmasse into Gabon without valid papers.

The president said, "A lot of illegal immigrants are entering Gabon through Eket, Oron and Jet Town. The authorities have called the attention of the Nigerian government that Nigerians are bringing other non-Nigerians and if nothing is done to stop them; they will start withdrawing our staying permit by December this year.

"There are more than 200,000 illegal Nigerian immigrants in Gabon. They are over 10,000 in Libreville. So we are appealing to the government to police the borders and stop Nigerians from illegally crossing over.

According to Yekini, Gabon was in need of teachers and Nigeria could be a fertile ground for importing teachers if the two countries work together. He stressed that even in the area of health care; there was room for Nigeria to collaborate with them.

He lamented that there was no close ties between Gabon and Nigeria thereby creating mutual suspicion amongst nationals of both countries explaining that a state visit could solve half of the problem.

Responding, chairman of the House committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa assured that the House would collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Custom and the Nigerian Immigration to ensure that the problem is put to rest.

Dabiri-Erewa assured that the committee would pay a working visit to Gabon to assess the level of the challenges faced by Nigerian resident in the country.

She disclosed that the federal government had already set in motion machinery for the establishment of a Naval Base at Oron to serve as a check to the menace of illegal immigrants. She advised the Nigerian community in Gabon to conduct itself properly to avoid confrontation with the security in the country.