Oluwole Josiah-Uanzekin

Despite the unbridled influx of Illegal immigrants through the nation’s land borders, the Nigeria Immigration Service says it is investing heavily in technology to curtail insecurity along the borders.

Nigerian citizens have been under severe attacks from marauding Fulani herdsmen from other African countries who criss-cross the vast forest of the savanna down to the southern rain forest, maiming and destroying farmlands with their herds of cattle.

Some of the herders have also taken to kidnapping and other violent crimes.

Federal authorities have consistently maintained that the armed herdsmen were non-Nigerians who come into the country through Illegal means.

The failure of the government at the centre, through its security architecture, to check these killers has worsened the country’s security situation.

But the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, has said the digitalization of operations at borders would complement other security measures like ; 24- hour border patrol system, establishment of border corps and border management sector in NIS, to boost services in areas where illegal immigrants and criminals could sneak into the nation.

He however, did not state how soon the facilities would be put in place, in the face of the urgent need and dire security situation facing the country right now.

Mr Babandede spoke on Wednesday in Ekiti during the sensitisation and enlightenment workshop on zero tolerance for corruption, organised for men and officers of the NIS.

He said the Service had introduced e-passport system for Nigerians to apply for travel documents online without necessarily appearing physically, and that would eliminate the chance for extortion .

The CG was represented by Assistant Comptroller at the headquarters in Abuja, Garba Idris.

He further said the NIS had upped the games in its operations at borders with Republic of Benin, Cameroun, Niger, and Chad, that were being used by foreigners to invade the country.

“Nigeria is a very big nation and some of the crimes being perpetrated here were through these illegal immigrants,” he said.

“We have had enough from these immigrants and we are moving against them.

“Knowing that human efforts might not be enough, the NIS has introduced technology to our operations at borders with these four countries.

“This is different from other reforms like auto-gate innovation system that we are using in airports and seaports to track down illegal foreigners.

“Part of our reforms now is that, being a national of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) can’t guarantee you free exit and entry. Before you are allowed into Nigeria, you must have all valid papers and means of livelihood, so you don’t come here and constitute nuisance to our nation.

“We have also established an ultra modern call , chat room and e-desk phone centres, where people can call in case of any security threat and we shall react promptly to such distress call.

“So, our borders are no longer porous as they used to be.”

The NIS Comptroller, Ekiti Command, Alphonsus Achilonu ,described Ekiti as one of the safest states in the country in terms of security of lives and property

Mr Achilonu disclosed that the data of foreign nationals domiciled in the state were well captured, while his officers are intensifying intelligence gathering to track down those parading the streets illegally.

On the pervasive corruption in the system, especially some reported cases of extortion and bottlenecks being encountered in issuance of travel documents, Mr Achilonu, assured that the Command won’t tolerate such from his officers to protect the NIS’ integrity and honour.

“We all know that corruption retards a nation. We need transparency in doing government business,” he said.

“A transparent system brings about trust and strong belief in the entire system.

“The NIS in Ekiti will implement all the zero tolerance reforms against corruption in NIS. Every Nigerian desire to be served right; it is the duty of service provider to ensure quality service delivery as relating to issuance of travel documents and manning of our borders for improved security in our dear country.”

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