By Nosa Alekhuogie
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has applauded the expatriate ratio being adopted by the Ladol Free Zone (LFZ), saying the offshore logistics service company is a model for sustainable development in Nigeria.
The commendation was made in Lagos Monday, during a facility tour of the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) by a top management team of the NIS led by its Deputy Comptroller-General Mohammed Babandede.
The managing Director, (MD) LFZ, Amy Jadesimi informed the team that the ongoing fabrication at the zone was in readiness to receive the world’s largest ship in Nigeria.
Speaking briefly with journalists after the tour, the DCG, expressed his satisfaction at the high number of Nigerians currently working on the project compared to the number of expatriates, saying what he saw was nothing short of a ’60 to one” ratio.
“I am happy with the team I met on ground, which shows clearly that you are creating employment for Nigerians in the most cost-effective manner. We heard that your zone is flooded with expatriates, which is clearly not the case.
On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Interiors and my Comptroller- General, we are ready to collaborate with you in your quest to move the country forward technologically.
The impression I had is that a lot of them are here, and no one knows what they are doing. But I have seen that a lot is happening here. Something is being done in this Zone with technology at work. What I have seen is a ratio of 60 Nigerians to one expatriate. This is what I have seen, contrary to assumptions”, he said.
The DCG noted that the NIS as a government agency was ready to be part of the change being canvassed by the current administration, by being partners in progress rather than being a force against expatriates.
According to him, “We do not just want to be seen as military personnels with uniforms but we want to see ourselves as a law enforcement agency that wants to contribute to the economic development of Nigeria, and drive the vision of the current government. A law enforcement that will protect immigrants, who are here to transfer technology to our people. These are some of the global best practices that we are proud to be part of.
We do not want to see expatriates come here and hijack what Nigerians can do. By year 2020, Nigeria should be exporting Nigerians to other parts of the world. We have enough graduates and experts who should be exported, and we cannot do so without giving them the opportunity to learn under the appropriate expatriates. LADOL is a good model in this direction.”
Speaking further, he stated: “If we carry out our duty in the right way, many people will come here to invest, but in the same way, we need to be careful of people who will come here and exploit Nigeria’s resources and leave the country empty. We must be selective of who comes to our country and for what purpose.”
Shedding more light on the readiness of the base to receive the world’s largest vessel on anchorage at the base, Jadesimi said that the basic issues have to do with security, stating that the ISPS (International Ships and Ports Security) certification have been provided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and enforced by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“So, the idea is to have an efficient security system on ground to meet with the highest standard for receiving such vessels. As far as the channels are concerned, (NPA Nigerian Ports Authority) is in charge of dredging the channels in Lagos Harbor regularly, and I must commend them for maintaining the draft up to 14 meters.
That means the channels coming from the open sea is deep enough to receive the vessel into LADOL base, and we do not envisage any problem with that. The most important thing to make the entire project economically viable is that the facility is a one-stop-shop. That is, we have all officers from all the relevant agencies on grounds who are working 24/7”, she added.