The chief imam of Abia State, Shiek Ali Ukiwe, has said illegal immigrants from neighboring countries have hijacked and taken control of Nigeria’s foreign exchange business.
Ukiwe stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Umuahia, the capital, saying the illegal immigrants are mostly from Niger, Mali, Chad, Cameroun Republic, and even Central Africa Republic.
He said,” You see because of the ease with which they enter the country from every direction, they can afford to engage in every manner of activities and businesses illegally and get away with it.”
“They are the ones who are in control of the business in the entire northern states including Abuja, Tejuoso Market and others in Lagos, Aba and the entire South South. Some of them deal in buying of stolen items.
“So, because of their similarities in religion, mode of dressing, culture, physic, language, names and many more with majority of Northerners, many Southerners often blame Ndi Awusa (Hausas) for crimes they committed.”
The Islamic scholar argued that the most painful aspect of the development is that they contribute next to nothing to the economy of the country like paying of taxes and infrastructure development.
He also blamed them for some of the insecurity across the country “because they have nothing at stake. And this is why we are having some problems even with ourselves as citizens.”
Asked whether he could identify them in the state, he said it is not his responsibility, but that of the security agencies, who he said know them but can do nothing because they have compromised on that.
“It will even surprise you to know that you cannot move an inch in these illegal immigrants own countries without your valid traveling decumments. No matter how you try to disguise yourself, you will be identified.”
He said for the federal government’s campaign against insecurity and insurgency to succeed, it must include thorough scrutinizing of movements and activities of such aliens and their proper documentation.