FG Vows To Keep Borders Shut Till Neighbouring Countries Comply

Border closure at Maigatari border town which connects Nigeria and Niger republic. PHOTO: Channels TV

 

Nigeria borders will remain closed until neighbouring countries respect Nigeria’s policy on food ban and other contraband importation.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by the Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali, during a visit to Maigatari border in Jigawa State.

Maigatari border town connects Nigeria and Niger republic.

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Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali

 

Ali while addressing custom personnel and community leaders at the border town lamented that criminals are coming in through Nigeria’s porous borders to perpetrate crimes freely.

“Most of the criminals are not citizens of Nigeria. They come in at will and go out at will because our borders are so porous. They come and create havoc and they disappear.

“This is why the President directed that we should go on and embark on this drill to ensure that we put into place a proper procedure for in and outflow of people.

“We must also get our neighbours to agree with us on the protocols of transit routes,” Ali said.

According to him, Nigeria has enough food and is willing to go to all extent to ensure its borders are no longer porous.

The Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, said the Federal Government’s directive was important to ensure that people do not enter into Nigeria or leave Nigeria through illegal means.

“A border is a place where there are immigration and customs.

If you want to enter into Nigeria, there is a border. The rule is that you pass through the border. If you are going pass through the border, carry your documents with you,” he said.

The Comptroller Customs also explained in an interview with journalists that the border closure has yielded positive results and will remain closed till neigbouring countries cooperate with the Nigerian government.

Nigeria has shut its borders with neighbouring countries including, Benin Republic and Niger for about a month.

Seme border, which borders Lagos with Benin Republic and through which a large volume of imported materials, legal and illegal, arrive Nigeria.

Then border closure according to President Buhari is curb smuggling and importation of food items that have been banned.

Blame Parents For Child Beggars In Northern Nigeria – Gov. Bello

Child beggars, Almajiris, Northern NigeriaNiger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has blamed parents for the influx and high rate of child beggars, otherwise known as Almajiris, on the streets of across major towns in the northern region of Nigeria.

He accused parents of abandoning their responsibilities of bringing up children under the guise of religion by sending their wards far away from home to seek Islamic knowledge without anything to support them.

The Governor made this observation when he paid host to the new State Comptroller of Immigration, Mrs. Tamuno Oyedeji in his office in Minna.

He stated that gone were the days when people go afar to seek Islamic knowledge stressing that there were enough Muslim Clerics spread across the region and it was callous and inhuman to send a child from far towns to Minna in other to acquire Islamic education.

Governor Sani Bello, who described the development as unacceptable, lamented that these children are left not catered for, stressing that the state government would do everything possible to protect such vulnerable children so that they don’t become menace to the society.

“We are also fine-tuning some laws in this regard with the hope that it would bring enduring solution to the problem. But in the main time, we have decided to send these child beggars on the street back to their parents”, the Governor added.

The Governor then pledged to sustain the joint patrol with the Immigration Service in the state in order to intensify patrol within the state and across its borders with Niger and Benin Republics to check irregular migrants.

He called on officers of the service to put an eagle eye and pay attention to entry flights into the country, especially those returning pilgrims, in other to apprehend those who might sneak in illegally.

Governor Sani Bello promised to assist the state command of the Immigration Service with logistics to boost its monitoring and surveillance across the state.

The new State Comptroller, Mrs. Tamuno Oyedeji acknowledged the continued support of the state government to the Immigration Service.

She gave the assurance that they would work with relevant stakeholders to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the state.

Suspended Immigration Recruits Protest 

immigration, Immigration recruitsAbout 2,000 recruits into the Nigeria Immigration Service, who were disengaged after their training in 2015, protested their sack at the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in Abuja on Tuesday.

The protesters stormed the ministry with various placards demanding their reinstatement into the service.

It will be recalled that the 2,000 applicants were recruited in 2015 following a presidential directive in the aftermath of Immigration recruitment stampede but were later disengaged after three months training.

One of the Immigration recruits,​ ​Solomon Ojigbe, said that they were at the ministry to protest their disengagement and press for immediate reinstatement.

The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr Muhammad Babandede, who later addressed the protesters pledged to look into the matter.

Mr. Babandede urged the protesters to be disciplined and conduct themselves peacefully while he meets with their leaders to find an amicable solution to the problem.

Nigeria, South Africa Hold Talks On Visa Issues

VisaNigeria and South Africa are continuing consultations on resolving visa related issues affecting both sides.

The Controller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service who is in South Africa has met with officials of South Africa’s Home Affairs Department in the capital city, Pretoria.

The meeting had the Nigerian Consular-General and the Controller-General of the Immigration heading the Nigerian side and Mr Jackson Makay, a Deputy Director-General, Immigration Services at the Department of Home Affairs at the South African side.

The closed door session lasted two hours. No formal statement was made but according to the Nigerian Consular-General, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, the long periods Nigerians have to wait to get South African visas as well as the visa duration were some of the concerns raised.

“We both agreed in principle to smoothen things out, especially the three years business visas for business executives – 3-year multiple entry visas. We have signed the agreement, we have to get on track to implement it,” she said.

The Controller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Martin Abeshi, also revealed that the Nigerian team also addressed the visa processing duration for Nigerians at South Africa’s missions in Nigeria.

He said that there were only two staff to attend to Nigerians who have applied for visas to visit South Africa and also attend to visa requests from other countries.

The South African officials also expressed concerns at the number of Nigerians who come into South Africa as tourists and never leave.

In 2014 alone, about 70,000 of them applied for asylum in South Africa.

Both sides assured each other of sustained efforts to address the listed concerns at government-to-government level.

NIS Increases Illegal Migrants’ Surveillance To Tackle Insecurity

David-ParadangThe Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) says it is complementing the war against insurgent groups by the military with increased surveillance of borders to check entrance of illegal migrants.

At a meeting on Wednesday with the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr Tanko Al-makura, the Comptroller General of the immigration service, David Paradang, said that securing the border better would help check security challenges in north-central region of Nigeria, where there has been intense fighting between local farmers and herdsmen.

“Profiling non-Nigerians and illegal migrants is the best way of ridding the country of insurgent groups,” Mr Paradang told reporters.

The Immigration Surveillance and Tracking Campaign, according to the Comptroller General, will also cover border control, as the nation battle to end its Ebola cases, especially with countries worst hit by the Ebola outbreak.

He further stated that the ECOWAS convention of free movement did not forbid Nigeria from closing it borders in times of public health concern as with the case of Ebola.

The Comptroller General also stated that the NIS profiling programme was paying off, with the deportation of over 780,000 illegal migrants in June.

Mr Paradang’s visit is part of the service’s efforts in tracking insurgents groups along the planes of the north-central region where fighting has been on since last year.

At the meeting, Governor Al-makura urged local government chairmen and the traditional institution to give the service every necessary support.

Edo Immigration Deports 120 Illegal Immigrants

The Edo state command of Nigeria Immigration Service has apprehended over 300 illegal immigrants from Niger, Chad, Mali, Ghana and Guinea during an operation conducted by the command in the state.

Parading the immigrants at the command headquarters in Benin City, Controller of Immigration, Edo state command, Mr David Akwo said that after screening the immigrants,120 of those arrested have been deported.

Mr Akwo advised citizens of West African countries not to misinterpret the ECOWAS protocol on movement of citizens of member states across the region.

He added that for citizens to move freely and gain entry into member states, they have to possess valid travel documents and come in through authorized routes.

The controller also urged residents to ensure proper screening and documentation of those employed by them.