The Philippines’ government has barred its citizens from seeking employment in Nigeria because of the rise in incidence of hostage crisis in the Niger Delta area of the country.
Most Filipinos work in Nigeria’s oil sector as crewmen onboard oil vessels that service the oil rigs in the Niger Delta.
Last year, a good number of the hostages taken were Filipino crew members.
Currently about 5,000 Filipinos work in Nigeria and most of them are in the Niger Delta.
The Filipino government has ordered immigration officials at the country’s international airports to refuse exits to all its citizens traveling to Nigeria. Other countries included ijn the travel ban are Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Ferdinand Sampol, Naia immigration supervisor, said the move was recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs along with the Department of Labor and Employment, which imposed a total ban on deployment to the four conflicted states.
Hundreds of departing workers, who flocked to the airport after spending the holidays with their families, were surprised to have their job contracts and supporting papers cleared by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency office before going to the outbound immigration counters.
Industry sources said the government had stopped processing the papers of Filipinos for employment in Nigeria and Afghanistan in November last year, while a total ban was imposed in 2004 on workers going to Lebanon and Iraq.
Data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration indicated more than 1,000 are now in Afghanistan and 5,000 in Nigeria, who were able to slip out of the airport through the so-called escort system.