Mohammed Babandede, Comptroller-General of Immigration

The Senate Committee on Local Content on Friday decried the “unnecessary depletion of the nation’s foreign reserves’’ through engagement of expatriates.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola, made the remark during an oversight visit to the headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja.

Spokesman of the NIS, Mr Sunday James, said in a statement that the lawmaker urged the agency to address the issue by enforcing the country’s relevant local content laws.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that companies seeking business permit and expatriate quota are required to employ Nigerians to understudy their foreign experts for the purpose of training them.

This is to enable the trainees to acquire the requisite skills for the eventual takeover of the expatriate quota positions.

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“It is sad that our qualified graduates in oil and gas-related disciplines are roaming the streets without jobs, whereas expatriates are collecting huge salaries for jobs that our people can conveniently undertake.

“This can no longer be tolerated”, Adeola was quoted as saying.

Responding, the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr Muhammad Babadende, said the NIS was committed to enforcing the local content law as it affected the understudy programme.

Babadende said the agency would ensure that companies complied with the conditions for granting expatriate quota to companies with foreign experts in their employ.

He also assured the committee of a “robust partnership” in enforcement of the local content law as requested by the lawmakers.