Border: Closure Is Good For Nigeria’s Security, Says Immigration Boss

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Mohammed Babandede

 

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Mohammed Babandede, says the closure of Nigeria’s borders is good for the nation’s security.

He said this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight.

“It is good Nigeria closes its borders. It is good Nigeria muzzles up a little bit to show that we are a country and that we care about our security and economy,” he said.

The immigration boss also called for more border security, emphasizing the need for better cooperation with other neighbouring countries to tackle illegal entry and criminal activities.

He explained that during the over 12 months the Federal Government shut the nation’s borders, neighbouring countries understood the political will of the current administration.

READ ALSO: Sale Of Assets Is Not New, Lawmaker Defends Plans To Fund 2021 Budget

“Nigeria has spoken with a political voice through actions that is why you see greater cooperation from our neighbours.

“I am glad in terms of immigration, within the period we closed the borders, we have received a lot of people who have left our territory through the unlawful path. Those people, we have taken to court and prosecuted them,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 2019 shut Nigeria’s land borders to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into the country from neighbouring West African nations.

The President, however, ordered the immediate reopening of the borders on December 16, 2020.

Post-Brexit Borders To Divide EU, UK Citizens

) this file photo taken on January 5, 2020 shows the flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union. According to a British government source a 'deal is done' on post-Brexit trade. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
File photo taken on January 5, 2020 shows the flags of the United Kingdom and the European Union. According to a British government source a ‘deal is done’ on post-Brexit trade.
Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

From January 1 British and EU citizens will be confronted with the reality of Brexit as the transition period ends and borders that were done away with decades ago return.

From that date, Britons will be treated by the EU as “third country” nationals, no longer enjoying freedom of movement to work, study or retire across the European Union.

Britain in turn will process EU nationals at its borders as it does other non-UK passport holders.

EU citizens proving residence in Britain, or Britons already living in a European Union country, will theoretically retain their rights under a Withdrawal Agreement struck in late 2019.

– Tourists –

Tourists will see some immediate changes — apart from the fluctuating coronavirus restrictions already crimping travel — but both sides have agreed that travel will be visa-free, as long as the other side keeps it that way.

But the EU will stop British passports being used in its automated e-gates, potentially meaning longer queues at manned passport booths.

READ ALSO: EU Gives Up 25% Of Fish Quota In UK Waters

Britons must hold passports still valid for at least six months and will be limited to EU stays of 90 days in a rolling 180-day period.

They will also need to show travel insurance coverage, sufficient funds and a return ticket on request.

Europeans entering Britain can use a national ID card until October, after which only passports will be accepted, for stays of up to six months.

EU passport holders will be able to continue using British e-gates under current guidance.

Those with criminal records may be banned and non-European family members of a European may need a visa, depending on nationality.

The UK treats Irish citizens separately from other EU nationals under a bilateral arrangement dating back nearly a century that allows continued freedom of movement between Britain and Ireland.

Europeans will be able to keep using EU pet passports as long as rabies vaccines are up to date. Britons however must see a vet to prepare their pets for travel a month before their trip to an EU country.

– Business travellers –

The EU-UK deal reached Thursday has set out the visa requirements for business travellers, the details of which are yet to be made public.

In the EU, Britons attending conferences or meetings likely will be exempt from visas where they do not receive payment or provide services.

However, for other UK business travellers, including posted workers and the self-employed, a visa and/or a work permit may be imposed in line with each individual EU country’s laws.

There will also be tax and social security considerations.

Certain services or company ownership in those countries may be off-limits to non-EU citizens or residents or those lacking national licences, and customs declarations may be needed for goods brought in.

In Britain, EU citizens with a job offer will be required to prove English-language skills and a minimum salary, dependent on whether the position is skilled (26,500 pounds, equivalent to 29,600 euros or $35,000) or a shortage occupation (20,480 pounds, 22,800 euros).

– Students and universities –

From January, EU students going to Britain will need a visa for courses longer than six months, and will have to pay steeper tuition fees — four times as much for degrees such as medicine or MBAs at prestigious universities.

That hefty burden may force many European students to choose EU institutions — some of which are free — over British ones, which UK universities fear will blow a big hole in their finances.

They also say they are already being shunned for research projects led by EU universities.

According to UK parliament research, there were 143,000 EU students in British universities in the 2018 to 2019 school year.

International students have made Britain the second-most popular education destination after the US, and they injected £25.8 billion (29 billion euros, or $34 billion) into the UK economy in 2015.

British students will be excluded from the Erasmus+ programme offering subsidised exchanges to EU countries.

British students wanting to go to EU universities will encounter higher fees in some countries as well as visa requirements that in many cases will curb their right to work.

– Emigrants –

For the estimated 1.3 million Britons living in the EU and the more than four million EU citizens living in the UK before the end of the transition period, their rights to stay are protected under the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.

Those wanting to emigrate elsewhere in the EU after January 1 will find a very different situation.

Britons, for example, have long favoured Spain, France, Germany and Italy to set down new roots as workers or retirees.

But the end of freedom of movement will see them having to jump through the same hoops as other “third country” nationals, which often include health insurance, income and language requirements.

Even Britons settled under the Withdrawal Agreement will no longer have automatic rights to move to a different EU country, and will face national immigration laws if they want to do so.

Britain, for its part, is bringing in a points-based system from 2021 that will make it significantly harder for Europeans to move there.

Age, English language ability, funds and the requirement to pay a health surcharge will all be evaluated, with caps on some of the immigration channels.

 

Republic Of Congo To Reopen Air Borders On Monday

 

The Republic of Congo next Monday will reopen air borders that it closed in late March to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

Land, river and sea borders will remain closed, except for the transport of cargo, which has been authorised.

The national coronavirus management committee has approved the opening of air borders from Monday, according to Thierry Moungalla, the minister of communication.

In an internal message seen by AFP on Thursday, the foreign ministry instructed embassy and consular workers to take steps to return to their place of work from Monday.

The Republic of Congo — also known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its bigger neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo — recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 14.

The country has recorded 3,850 infections so far, 77 of them fatal.

AFP

Europe Reopens Borders But China Battles New Virus Outbreak

A passenger wearing a face mask and gloves as a preventive measure pushes a trolley at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport in Barajas on March 20, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

A raft of EU nations reopened their borders to fellow Europeans on Monday after months of coronavirus curbs, but China was battling a new outbreak that has stoked fears of a second wave.

As caseloads have declined in recent weeks across many parts of Europe, governments have been keen to ease painful lockdowns that have saved lives but devastated economies and wearied confined populations.

Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine were among those lifting border restrictions on Monday, while shops and outdoor attractions in England were set to welcome their first customers since March and in Paris cafes and restaurants were allowed to fully reopen.

“We’re desperate about tourists, we need them and we want them. If we don’t have the people, how will we survive,” says Michalis Drosos, who works in a souvenir shop in Fira, capital of the Greek island of Santorini.

However, the pandemic is gathering pace in Latin America, and Iran and India have reported worrying increases in deaths and infections — adding to concern over challenges the world will face in the long fight against COVID-19.

China, where the virus emerged late last year, was the first country to implement extreme restrictions on movement early this year, forcing local transmission down to near-zero as the crisis hammered the rest of the world.

READ ALSO: Norway Suspends Virus-Tracing App After Privacy Concerns

But health officials on Monday reported 75 cases of the respiratory illness in Beijing where the fresh cluster has been linked to a wholesale food market.

Streams of people queued in a Beijing stadium as mass testing was carried out, and a strict lockdown was extended across 21 Beijing neighbourhoods.

– US reports lowest daily toll –

More than 430,000 people worldwide have died from COVID-19, nearly halfway through a year in which countless lives have been upended and the global economy ravaged by the crisis.

The United States — by far the hardest-hit country with more than 115,700 recorded fatalities — on Sunday reported its lowest 24-hour death toll since its infection rate peaked in mid-April.

President Donald Trump’s administration has noted that some states have seen new flare-ups, but insists there will be no shutdown of the economy even if a new wave arises.

But stock markets tumbled again on Monday on fears that an upsurge of infections could put the brakes on the easing of lockdowns and dash hopes of economic recovery.

– ‘Micro-outbreaks inevitable ‘ –

The Middle East’s worst-hit country, Iran, reported an uptick on Sunday, recording more than 100 new virus deaths in a single day for the first time in two months.

Surging infections in India have highlighted the precarious state of its healthcare system, and more than 1,000 new cases are being reported each day in the capital alone.

Mortuaries in New Delhi are overflowing with bodies and cemeteries and crematorium staff say they cannot keep up with the backlog of victims.

There have also been two new outbreaks in Rome, with 109 infections including five deaths diagnosed at a hospital and 15 cases detected at a building inhabited by squatters.

“It means the virus hasn’t lost its infectiousness, it isn’t weakening… we shouldn’t let down our guard,” World Health Organization deputy director Ranieri Guerra told journalists.

“Such micro-outbreaks were inevitable, but they are limited in time and space. And today we have the tools to intercept them and confine them.”

– ‘It’s going to be a party’ –

Despite fears over fresh clusters, many countries are making moves towards semi-normality.

In Paris, restaurant and cafe owners were cheering after the government said they could once again open their dining rooms, three months after being shut to blunt the coronavirus outbreak.

Until now, restaurants in and around the capital could only serve clients on outdoor terraces, even though eateries in the rest of the country opened fully earlier this month.

“It’s going to be a party,” Stephane Manigold, owner of four Paris restaurants, including the two-starred Maison Rostang, told AFP.

In England, thousands of non-essential retailers such as bookshops and electronics outlets will be welcoming their first customers since halting in-store business in late March.

Drive-in cinemas, safari parks and the outdoor parts of zoos will also be able to reopen, while places of worship are also set to swing open their doors again for individual prayer.

Egypt says it will open its doors for tourists to beach resorts in July, and Peru’s Machu Picchu will also reopen next month, although it will sharply reduce the number of daily visitors.

And top-level football continues its return in Europe with the English Premier League making its long-awaited comeback this week, days after Spain’s La Liga.

AFP

Spain To Reopen Borders With France, Portugal On June 22

A passenger wearing a face mask and gloves as a preventive measure pushes a trolley at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport in Barajas on March 20, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

Spain will reopen its land borders with France and Portugal on June 22, three months after they were closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, its tourism minister said Thursday.

“In the case of France and Portugal, I want to confirm that from June 22, the restrictions on mobility will be lifted,” Reyes Maroto said a foreign press briefing.

She added that “in principle”, the compulsory 14-day quarantine requirement “will also be dropped” for cross-border arrivals.

“This is very important because it will allow us to welcome back both French and Portuguese tourists,” the minister noted.

Spain closed its borders with France and Portugal on March 17, three days after imposing a nationwide lockdown to battle the virus which has infected more than 240,000 people and killed over 27,000.

Since May 15, almost all international arrivals have had to self-isolate for two weeks to prevent a resurgence of the epidemic.

That measure is to remain in place until July 1 for people flying in or arriving by boat.

“Right now, given the improvement in the epidemic in Spain, there is a debate underway about whether we could bring forward the date for lifting this quarantine requirement,” she said.

READ ALSO: Armenia Hospitals Overwhelmed As COVID-19 Cases Surge

“If the conditions are right to lift the requirement before July 1, we will.”

The announcement came a day after Spanish lawmakers voted to extend the state of emergency a final time to June 21.

It was the sixth time the measure has been renewed, although with the epidemic well in hand, associated restrictions have been significantly eased over time.

Maroto said 6,000 German tourists would be able to travel to Spain’s Balearic Islands “in the second half of June” within the context of a pilot project between the archipelago’s regional government and the German tour operator TUI.

AFP

COVID-19: Cuba To Quarantine Tourists, Close Borders

Stranded passengers line up looking for a flight to return to their countries, at Havana’s Jose Marti airport, on March 23, 2020. – As of Tuesday, March 24, no flights with tourists will be allowed into the country as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP.

 

Cuba will quarantine foreign tourists from Tuesday when it seals its borders to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said Monday, in a move cutting one of the communist country’s few revenue sources.

“All tourists still in hotels will be placed in quarantine… They cannot leave the hotel” until they find a flight home, Manuel Marrero said on state TV, adding that there were 32,500 holidaymakers from overseas on the Caribbean island on Monday.

Some of them rushed to the airport in Havana Monday, anxious about their chances of finding a flight — many are already full and carriers have started canceling routes.

Economically crippled by US sanctions, Cuba is largely dependent on its tourism revenue.

Until now, Cuba had bucked the regional trend of closing its borders to foreigners.

READ ALSO: Over 200,000 Coronavirus Cases Declared In Europe

That generated heavy criticism from a worried population where 20 percent are over 60 and there are often cuts in the water supply and a lack of soap.

Regularly washing hands has been one of the main pieces of advice that health authorities have given to help people avoid contracting the virus.

But now only citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter the country, which has so far counted 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Car rentals and tour excursions have also been canceled.

“Next week no tourists” will enter the country, said Marrero, adding that almost all hotels on the island would close.

Of the 32,500 tourists already on the island, 9,400 are staying in homestays. According to the government, they will be moved to state-run hotels.

Authorities on Monday also announced one-month-long school closures, an unprecedented move not seen since the 1959 revolution made education and health two of the country’s main pillars.

And Cubans themselves may not leave the island without authorization, except for their own health, the prime minister said.

A 61-year-old Italian tourist has been Cuba’s only coronavirus death so far, and all of the country’s other cases have been among foreigners or those who have had close contact with known cases.

Authorities have assured Cubans the virus is so far not circulating locally.

AFP

Ethiopia Shuts Land Borders To Fight Coronavirus

A cleaning staff waits in protective gear to disinfect a metro carriage for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 20, 2020. – African countries have been among the last to be hit by the global COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic but as cases rise, many nations are now taking strict measures to block the deadly illness. Michael Tewelde / AFP.

 

Ethiopia on Monday shut its land borders to nearly all human traffic as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Africa’s second-most populous country has so far recorded just 11 infections and no deaths, but officials have struggled in recent days to enforce prevention measures including bans on large gatherings, raising fears the tally could climb.

The land border closure was part of a set of new measures announced Monday by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office.

Soldiers will be empowered “to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country,” a statement said.

Security forces will also play a role in enforcing existing measures prohibiting large gatherings and meetings, it added.

Ethiopia has so far refrained from imposing the kind of shutdown seen in other East African countries like Rwanda and Mauritius.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus Kills Two Senior Military Officers In Egypt 

But even its more limited measures have not been fully enforced, and Abiy’s Prosperity Party has been criticised on social media for holding large meetings in various parts of the country where attendees have sat close together.

Monday’s statement said political parties would “adhere to social distancing and preventative measures when convening meetings.”

Ethiopia has kept its main airport open for international flights, although Ethiopian Airlines has been forced to suspend services to destinations in nearly 40 countries, according to its website.

Monday marked the first day of a new rule requiring all passengers arriving in Ethiopia to be quarantined in hotels for two weeks at their own expense.

Ethiopia shares land borders with countries including Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia — all of which have confirmed coronavirus cases.

Djibouti announced its second case on Monday.

Eritrea, with one case, on Monday announced new measures of its own including a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

The country’s health ministry also urged residents to avoid public transportation and said Eritreans currently living abroad should refrain from returning.

Ethiopia’s refugee population of more than 735,000 includes large numbers from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has voiced concern about how border restrictions implemented to fight the coronavirus could affect the rights of asylum seekers.

The UN “requests that measures be put in place to take into account access to territory of asylum seekers for those fleeing persecution,” Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s Ethiopia representative, told AFP on Monday.

AFP

Brazil Closes Borders, Mexico Announces First Death From Pandemic

A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, walks in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 16, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP
A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, walks in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 16, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP.

 

South America’s biggest country Brazil on Thursday announced it was closing land borders to nearly all its neighbors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as Mexico reported its first virus death.

People in several cities in Colombia and Brazil mounted pot-banging “cacerolazo” protests from apartment balconies against the failure of their governments to act quickly against the pandemic.

Chile, rocked by months of social protests, unveiled an $11.75 billion economic stimulus package to cope with the effects of the virus on the giant copper producer.

Meanwhile, a plane operated by Spanish carrier Iberia sent to Ecuador to pick up stranded foreigners was prevented from landing at an airport in Guayaquil, which is under lockdown.

Cynthia Viteri, mayor of Ecuador’s second city, said she ordered vehicles to block the runway of the international airport to prevent the plane from landing.

The flight from Madrid, with only crew aboard, was able to land later in Quito.

Ecuador has banned all flights since Monday to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Italy Passes China’s Virus Deaths, Braces For Long Lockdown

Mexico reported its first coronavirus death — a 41-year-old man with diabetes who died Wednesday in Mexico City. Mexico has 118 confirmed cases of infection.

Latin America has so far recorded 1,921 cases and 18 deaths.

– Chile stimulus plan-

Chile’s stimulus plan “will strengthen our ability to face the health, economic and social needs that the coronavirus pandemic is signifying and that will probably tend to worsen in the future,” President Sebastian Pinera told a press conference.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced a lockdown of Chile’s Easter Island, saying no one could enter or leave the remote Pacific island for the next two weeks.

Manalich said that though none of the island’s 7,000 population had the disease, many people from the island were trying to return and risked carrying the virus back with them.

Chile has registered 342 cases of the virus to date.

Colombia will block all international flights from Monday for 30 days, President Ivan Duque announced Thursday.

“As of 00:00 hours on March 23, the arrival of all international passenger flights to the country’s airports is prohibited,” the president wrote on Twitter.

Duque said the shutout was necessary because some people who had entered the country had tried to avoid mandatory quarantine regulations.

Colombia closed its land and sea borders on Tuesday.

– Bogota confinement –

Bogota city hall said the capital’s seven million people would face confinement from Friday to Monday as part of a trial run for a probable future quarantine.

Other cities across Colombia, which has more than 100 cases of the coronavirus, were also under nighttime curfews.

Brazil said its 15-day border closure would affect all neighboring countries, with the exception of Uruguay to the south.

It shut its border with Venezuela on Tuesday.

Senior Brazilian officials, such as Chamber of Deputies speaker Rodrigo Maia, had called for a total border shutdown.

Latin America’s largest country, with a population of 210 million, has so far registered 428 cases of the coronavirus, with four deaths.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, the lawmaker son of the Brazil’s president, joined US President Donald Trump in criticizing China over the pandemic, prompting demands from Beijing for an apology.

China’s embassy accused Bolsonaro of perpetuating the anti-China stance of Trump, who repeatedly refers to the “Chinese virus.”

“We are familiar with your irresponsible words. You imitate your dear (American) friends. On your return from Miami, you unfortunately caught a mental virus, which infected the friendship between our peoples,” the embassy said in a tweet.

AFP

Chile, Peru Close Borders As Latam Grounds Flights Over Coronavirus

Travellers await for their flights out of Peru on March 16, 2020 at the Jorge Chavez international airport in Callao, Lima, minutes before borders are closed. On March 15, 2020, President Martin Vizcarra announced a State of Emergency and a two-week nationwide home-stay curfew together with the closure of all borders on account of the coronarvirus, COVID-19, pandemia declared by the United Nations World Health Organization. Peru’s “index case”, detected two weeks ago was discharged today and so far no fatalities have been recorded of the 86 cases of Covid-19 detected in the country. Luka GONZALES / AFP.

 

Chile and Peru announced a total closure of their borders on Monday while Latin America’s largest airline said it was reducing operations by 70 percent as the region scrambled to stem the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Latin America has registered more than 800 cases and seven deaths, according to an AFP count, after the Dominican Republic became the latest nation to report a fatality.

“We’ve decided to close all our country’s terrestrial, maritime and aerial borders for the transit of foreigners,” said Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera.

The announcement came as Chile revealed on Monday its number of coronavirus cases had more than doubled since Sunday to 155.

Peru followed suit soon afterwards with President Martin Vizcarra announcing a two-week border closure from midnight, while Colombia announced it would close its borders until May 30.

Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay confirmed partial border closures. Paraguay also imposed overnight curfews.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced late Monday that his country would enter “collective quarantine.”

Latam Airlines said it was reducing operations by 70 percent, just four days after already cutting back by 30 percent.

“If these unprecedented travel restrictions increase… we’re not ruling out being forced to decrease our operations even more,” said the airline’s vice-president Roberto Alvo.

READ ALSO: US Begins First Human Trial Of Coronavirus Vaccine

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador bucked the trend, saying he would not ban public gatherings or stop greeting people with “hugs” until public health officials said otherwise.

– Stocks tumble –

Chile rolled out a number of coronavirus control measures as the central bank slashed interest rates by 75 basis points to 1.0 percent.

The move failed to stop the Santiago stock exchange closing down 14 percent, its worst fall in three decades.

Regional stocks were battered as the Sao Paulo exchange lost almost 14 percent, Buenos Aires fell nearly 10 percent and Colombia plummeted more than 15 percent.

Brazil’s currency fell below $0.20 for the first time ever, prompting an emergency government investment of almost 150 billion reals ($27.5 billion) into the economy.

Chile’s closed borders caused a problem for a quarantined cruise ship in the country’s deep south.

More than 200 passengers and crew aboard the Silver Explorer in the remote port of Caleta Tortel are in lockdown after six people tested positive for coronavirus.

Health authorities want to evacuate the other passengers back to their home countries, but may need special permission.

– Cuba helping Nicaragua –

Cuba said it was allowing a British cruise ship to dock despite five people on board testing positive for COVID-19 and nearly 40 others in isolation with flu-like symptoms.

“We are working around the clock to arrange evacuation flights from Cuba to the UK as soon as possible for passengers on the Braemar cruise ship,” a British foreign ministry spokesman said.

Cuba is also sending specialist doctors to Nicaragua to help the central American country treat COVID-19 patients.

Ecuador, which has seen 58 cases and two deaths, banned tourists from the Galapagos Islands on Monday while authorities in Rio de Janeiro used megaphones to order people at the beach to go home.

Rio’s Flamengo football club, the reigning Copa Libertadores champions, revealed that their Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus is the latest sports star to have tested positive for the virus.

The city’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue was also closed to the public.

Honduras announced a week-long lockdown to prevent people from going to work, using public transport or taking part in religious activities.

The Argentine government announced work exemptions for public and private employees of non-essential sectors, as well as parents with school-age children.

AFP

‘There Is No Closure’, Immigration Explains Activities At Nigerian Borders

(FILE) Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammed Babandede, speaks during an interview with Channels Television.

 

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday clarified the controversy surrounding the reports on the closure of the nation’s borders.

Contrary to the reports, the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, stated that no border has been closed.

He, however, explained that the Service was conducting an operation with the Nigeria Customs Service at the borders.

“There is no border closure, but there was a border drill and there was an announcement from the office of the National Security Adviser,” Babandede said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He added, “Our spokesperson for the closure is the Nigeria Customs because this operation is jointly carried out by the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs; it is a border drill.

“You know very well that a safe border is a safe nation. So we are securing these borders for our national interest.”

READ ALSO: Immigration Vows To Deport Unregistered Visitors From Nigeria After Amnesty

The Immigration boss further highlighted the gains of the exercise carried out at various borders of the country.

According to him, those who think they can make money by “dumping anything” in the country have been blocked.

Babandede noted that the security agencies have also prevented those making attempts to come into Nigeria without the required travelling documents and records.

He said, “I’m glad to say windows have been opened for people to pass through these borders from 6am to 6pm, but must enter with travelling documents and with visa if visa is required.

“It’s not a closure, it’s a border drill and Nigeria will do everything it can to protect its integrity, its border, its economy, and its people.”

We Need Technology To Police Our Borders Effectively, Says Cualcrick

 

A former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Tunji Cualcrick, has suggested the use of technology to secure the nation’s borders.

Mr Cualcrick believes this will go a long way in tackling unauthorised movements of persons and illegal items into the country.

“We’ve got to apply technology to ensure that we police our borders effectively,” he said on Monday during a special programme on Channels Television, The Inauguration.

READ ALSO: No Law Authorises Anybody To Search A Police Officer – Ex-AIG

We Need Technology To Police Our Borders Effectively, Says Cualcrick
Mr Tunji Cualcrick

The former AIG added, “In terms of our borders that are spread wide all over, I don’t think we have enough human resources to cover them effectively, but technology can actually help.”

He said there was a need to adopt the use of technology to prevent illegal movements and send security forces to stopped foreigners infiltrating the country.

Mr Cualcrick noted that the recent security challenges in the country were partly as a result of the weak border.

He also decried the menace of arms proliferation, saying, “I’m certainly not satisfied that we still have a large cache of arms in the hands of the wrong people.

“Nevertheless, a lot has actually been done with regards to ensuring that some of these arms are recovered. The government is actually doing more to ensure that these arms are mopped up significantly.”

The former AIG added, “I want to sincerely believe that there is still need for a more holistic approach; we are talking about a better approach, particularly with regards to the application of technology.”

Sudan’s Military Announces Two-Year Rule, Shuts Borders

Sudanese Defence Minister Ahmed Awad Ibnouf delivering a speech in Khartoum, announcing that President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power on April 11, 2019 AFP

 

Sudan’s army ousted veteran president Omar al-Bashir Thursday, but protestors against his iron-fisted rule swiftly rejected a “coup” by the military and vowed to keep up their demonstrations.

In a sombre televised address, Defence Minister Awad Ibnouf announced “the toppling of the regime” and said Bashir had been detained in “a secure place”, bringing an end to his three-decade rule.

A transitional military council will replace the president for two years, he said, adding that the country’s borders and airspace would be shut until further notice.

READ ALSO: Sudan Borders, Airspace Shut Until Further Notice – Minister

But in a warning to protestors, he also imposed a night-time curfew from 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) to 4:00 am (0200 GMT).

Bashir, who swept to power in a 1989 coup, was one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes.

But organisers of the protests, which first erupted in December, rejected the army’s move and vowed to keep up their campaign until the whole regime was swept aside.

“The people do not want a transitional military council,” said Alaa Salah, who became an icon of the protest movement after a video of her leading demonstrators’ chants outside army headquarters went viral.

“Change will not happen with Bashir’s entire regime hoodwinking Sudanese civilians through a military coup,” she tweeted.

“We want a civilian council to head the transition.”

The protestors’ Alliance for Freedom and Change said the regime had “conducted a military coup by bringing back the same faces and the same institutions which our people rose against.”

It urged people “to continue their sit-in in front of army headquarters and across all regions and in the streets.”

 ‘We’re not leaving’ 

Since early Thursday morning, huge crowds of jubilant Sudanese had filled squares across the centre of Khartoum as the army promised an “important announcement”.

Chanting “the regime has fallen,” they poured into the open ground outside army headquarters, where defiant protesters had braved tear gas and gunfire to keep up an unprecedented sit-in, now in its sixth day.

But the festive mood later soured, as protestors chanted: “We don’t want Ibnouf!”

“We are not leaving, we are not leaving. Just fall and that’s all,” they shouted.

The opposition Sudanese Congress Party called on the military council to dissolve itself and form “a joint military and civilian council to run the government for a four-year transition term”.

It also urged the army to give executive powers to civilians.

Adel, a protestor outside army headquarters, said Thursday’s announcement meant “we have not achieved anything.”

“We will not stop our revolution. We are calling for the regime to step down, not only Bashir,” he said.

Army vehicles carrying troops were seen deploying across the centre of Khartoum from early Thursday.

Troops raided the offices of the Islamic Movement, the ideological wing of Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party, witnesses told AFP.

Martial music was played on state television as soldiers ordered the TV to halt its normal programming ahead of Ibnouf’s announcement.

Outside army headquarters, dozens of joyful protesters early Thursday climbed on top of land cruisers and armoured vehicles that had been posted to protect them from intervention by other branches of the security forces.

Braving the searing 42 degree Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) heat, they hugged and kissed soldiers in the crowd.

 Prisoner release 
The military council said it was declaring a ceasefire across the country, including in war-torn Darfur.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s feared intelligence service said it was freeing all the country’s political prisoners, state media reported.

“The National Intelligence and Security Service has announced it is releasing all political detainees across the country,” the official SUNA news agency said.

But in the eastern cities of Kasala and Port Sudan, the releases failed to materialise, prompting protesters to storm NISS buildings, witnesses said.

That came despite protest organisers urging demonstrators to refrain from attacking government figures or buildings.

Demonstrators have spent five nights defiantly camped outside the sprawling army headquarters complex in Khartoum, which also houses Bashir’s official residence and the defence ministry.

“We had enough of this regime — 30 years of repression, corruption, rights abuses, it’s enough,” said one protester at the sit-in.

The demonstrators have braved repeated volleys of tear gas from NISS members since they began camping outside the complex on Saturday, protest organisers say.

Officials say 49 people have died in protest-related violence since the demonstrations first erupted in December.

Neighbouring Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in similar circumstances, said Thursday it supported the Sudanese people and the army in their political transition.