As Tamil Nadu gets ready to celebrate the New Year, a small community of Nigerians in the textile town of Tirupur has little to cheer about. The police have told the community to ensure its members are not involved in the garment trade without work permits.
“The Nigerians who come to Tirupur on tourist visas or student visas are not allowed to do business here,” said P Nagarajan, the Tirupur commissioner of police. “Only those who have an employment visa can do business. We told the Nigerian Welfare Association that we want them to abide by the rules, or we will take action.”
The police’s warning prompted the Tirupur Nigeria Community Welfare and Garment Traders Association to put up a notice in Khaderpettai garment market, banning Nigerians from conducting business from January 1. “All Nigerians who [are] presently into partnership businesses with Indians must not continue the operation inside Khaderpettai market,” read the notice, signed by the association’s chairman Philip Nicolas. “Anyone who wish[es] to start a new business individually or in partnership with any Indian must submit copies of business documents to respective police authority and the Nigerian Association.”
The notice warned of “serious action” for disobeying the rules, which are meant to assuage the “continuous and increased agitation” of local people at Khaderpettai. “This is issued for the interest of peace and respect to our host country and our Tamil Nadu neighbours,” the notice stated. “We will continue to make every effort to keep the good relationship between Nigeria and India.”