Muhammed Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has warned Nigerians against marrying foreigners in the attempt to procure resident permits.
Speaking at a meeting with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Babandede said such marriages deprive the federal government of expected revenue from tax, and constitute a punishable offence according to law.
He said the warning became necessary because NIS had noticed that in 2020, the number of foreigners who got resident permits in Nigeria had increased.
He added that arrests had been made, which included persons from China and Egypt.
“Last year, if you look at our annual report, we noticed an increase in persons who got resident permits because of marriage, which suggests the possibility of fake marriages to avoid payment for resident permits and tax is there,” NAN quoted him to have said.
“We are going to be very serious in investigating that and we have already started.
“I am glad to say that at the moment, we have a Chinese citizen whom we have arrested, who presented himself as a visa agent. We have also arrested many Egyptians who have arranged marriages with compromised officers, who are also facing disciplinary actions.
“So, fake marriage will be thoroughly investigated and we will have a special unit to investigate marriages, and we will know how to do it.
“So, we want Nigerians, both male and female, to avoid contractual marriages, because it is an offence under the Act, and an attempt to deny paying revenue to government.”
The NIS CG added that renewal of resident permits will, henceforth, be done upon presenting evidence of valid documents showing tax payment.