By Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja –
A firm, Intels Nigeria Limited has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, for an order seeking leave to apply for judicial review of the decision taken by the Comptroller General of Immigration, revoking the residence and work permits of 102 expatriates in its workforce.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who recently dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress for the People’s Democratic Party was said to own substantial shares in Intels.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1180/2017, was dated November 24th, 2017, and filed on behalf of Intels by Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN). Muhammed Babandede, the Comptroller General of Immigration, the only respondent in the suit, had on 15th November 2015 issued a press statement that the residence and work permits of Intels expatriate staff had been revoked.
Babandede further issued a directive that the said persons should leave the Nigerian territory on or before November 30. The action filed by Intels was pursuant to Order 34 Rule 3 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009.
However, the matter which was for mention on Monday, could not go on because of the absence of legal representation for the respondent.
Adegbonmire who announced appearance for Intels told the court that hearing notice and the order asking the respondent to show why the reliefs being sought by the applicant should not be granted were served on the Immigration boss.
In view of this, the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter to January 10, 2018.
Specifically, the applicant is asking the court to declare that the decision of Nigerian Immigration “is unlawful, unconstitutional, wrong and void ab initio”.
The federal government had through the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) revoked the resident permit of expatriate staff of six companies operating in the country include those of Intels last month.
Muhammad Babandede, comptroller-general of NIS, announced this in Abuja.
The agency identified other companies as Prodeco International Ltd., West Africa Machinery Services Ltd., Net Global System International Ltd., MGM Logistics Solutions Ltd., and Oriean Investment Ltd.
He said the action was in exercise of the powers vested on the comptroller-general in section 39 subsection 1 of the Immigration Act 2015 and section 5, subsection 5 of the Immigration Regulation 2017.
The sections empower the NIS to revoke the resident permit of expatriate workers of companies whose operational licenses are withdrawn by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority.
It would also be recalled that in October, the federal government terminated Intels’ contract with the Nigerian Ports Authority over allegations that the firm did not comply with the government’s directive on the treasury single account.