After the visit of Gen Cimatu last week, it seems like the ban in Nigeria will soon be lifted.
As it is, Mrs Derpo spoke at length with Gen Cimatu as he arived in Nigeria on March 4, 2009, before proceeding to Abuja.
On March 5th, Gen Cimatu is said to have met wth the Foreign Affairs minister of Nigeria to discuss security situation of OFWs. The Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister reportedly told Gen Cimatu that everything is okay with filipinos in Nigeria, except in Oil areas.
Later in the day, Gen Cimatu went to the compound of Julius Berger Construction company, where majority of expat employees are Filipinos. Gen Cimatu was guided by Engr Lito Nocum, the head of Filipino association in Abuja, in touring the accommodations for Filipinos.
Gen Cimatu quipped that he’d never seen so many cars outside the embassy belonging to OFWs. He compared Nigeria to Lebanon. To which an OFW said in jest, “walang pong DH sa Nigeria kasi”.
Gen Cimatu wrapped-up his visit to Nigeria with a meeting with Filipinos in Ikeja, Lagos. He was met by the Philippine Barangay Society in Nigeria (PBSN) chairperson (and Banaag 2008 Awardee). Mrs Esperanza Derpo in the airport, and to the PBSN clubhouse in Ikeja.
The meeting with PBSN, emceed by Veronica Bernas-Snoxell, started with the singing of the Phil National Anthem. Father Doury, a long-time Filipino priest in Lagos gave the invocation. Mr. Tito Villaruel, VP of PBSN gave the welcome remarks. Consul General Alex Lamadrid introduced Ambassador Cimatu, after that, Mrs Derpo presented the Naija Pinoys appeal via a power point presentation. – as reported by Marix Tajo.
Gen. Cimatu reiterated his observation that he was impressed at the job positions of Filipinos (managers and supervisors), and the salary/ accommodations they have in Nigeria.
When asked what would be his recommendation to the President, Gen Cimatu gamely said that it’s obvious from his “body language” that he will recommend for the lifting of the ban.
Gen. Cimatu was accompanied by Consul-Gen Alex LaMadrid on his trip to Abuja and Lagos.
Con-Gen Lamadrid stayed in Ikeja until Sunday so he could attend the March Family Day gathering in Ikeja.
Nigeria is home to almost 5,000 OFWs employed in oil & gas, telecoms, construction, manufacturing and services sectors. Filipinos have been in Nigeria since the early 70’s.