No Illegal Routes into Nigeria – NIS
By Dipo Omoware
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) says there are no illegal entry points into the country. Deputy Comptroller and Public Relations Officer for NIS, James Sunday made this statement on 99.3 Nigeria Info programme, Morning Crossfire.
Speaking to show hosts Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri, the NIS PRO said: “no government will allow illegal route in any country. At various platforms, I have always debunked the idea of people using the word illegal routes, we only have unmanned space.”
He added: “for the large expanse of land in Nigeria just like we have in the United States and other advanced countries, we only have unmanned space and these unmanned space(s) are the areas where regular officers cannot cover because of the expanse nature.”
Recently, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari approved a 6-month amnesty program for unregistered migrants in the country to be captured in the database of the NIS. In an address to the NIS delivered by the Secretary to the Government of Nigeria (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the president said “we have the responsibility to know who lives among us. It is on this note therefore that I am declaring a 6-month amnesty period for irregular migrants already in the country to submit themselves to the Nigerian Immigration Service for the purpose of this registration which will be carried out without any payment or penalties.
Also speaking on the show, journalist and Nigeria Info analyst Rotimi Sankore insisted that the problem of the NIS was lack of “enough funding.”
“I don’t expect that our colleague or friend from the NIS to indict himself or the service by saying that they are unable to cover such a long border,” Sankore said. “It’s not his fault or the fault of his colleagues, it’s that the NIS does not have enough funding or capacity to hire the numbers that are required.”
He added: “I mean they need more personnel; they need more equipment. What you describe as illegal, what he says is un-policed, if you’re going to put people there, you need to employ the people, you need to train the people, you need to equip the people and sending people to border post is not an easy thing because many of the border posts are far away from ‘civilisation’, so you actually also have to provide the resources in terms of housing, in terms of support infrastructure.”
“So I would suggest that if they need and I believe they need, they should come up with the estimates of what they need, and you know, put it to the appropriate authorities; National Assembly, the Executives and say oh we need an extra 20,000, 30,000 people, we need an extra 500 posts, we need extra vehicles of this type, we need helicopter if necessary.”
Also, the NIS Deputy Comptroller noted that the agency has deployed surveillance technology at some of its control posts that allow for monitoring of what “is happening real time from the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration service at those control post or outpost of the service.”
According to the NIS spokesperson, the agency employs other systems such as the EPARS (Electronic Passenger Registration System) and the MIDAS (Migrant Information Development Analysis System) to keep records of regular migrants that come into the country.