By George Odok
The Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Cross River, Mr Okey Ezugwu, has cautioned traditional rulers and government officials to desist from conferring indigeneship on foreign nationals in the state without following due process.
Ezugwu gave the warning during a courtesy call on the speaker of Cross River House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Jonah-William on Thursday in Calabar.
He said that such actions were done through the “backdoor” with no duly followed procedures or considerations for national interest.
He decried attitudes of residents toward border security through the encouragement of illegal migration into the state.
He urged local government authorities, local government officials and traditional institutions to refrain from issuing foreign nationals breeder documents which they have been using to apply for Nigerian passports and national Identity cards.
“I am not trying to implicate anyone, but the Clan and Village Heads are admitting foreigners through the backdoor.
“Irregular migration and all forms of illegality along the Cross River borders are managed by village heads who are giving foreigners Nigeria documents free of charge.
“My visit here is to plead with the Speaker and House members that are grassroots people to talk to their Village Heads.
“The security of Cross River which is surrounded by neighbouring countries doesn’t depends on uniform personnel alone.
“The security of Cross River should be our collective responsibility and we need to work together not to allow foreigners into our country illegally,” he said.
Responding, the Speaker assured the NIS of the Assembly’s continued cooperation and assistance with a law to put an end to all issues raised.
“We cannot sit down as stakeholders and allow our country to go the wrong way. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, anyone coming in should follow the right process,” he said.
Jonah-Williams added that all the House of Assembly members will take the message to their constituents.
He promised the Comptroller of a new era of stability in the borders.
“We are here to support you, anytime you need us, you can come to us,” he said.