By Ismaila Chafe
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babandede, on Friday in Abuja briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on NIS’s activities aimed at safeguarding the nation’s borders.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the closed door meeting with the president, Babandede said new measures had been put in place by NIS to check illegal movement of foreigners into the country.
According to him, the agency has acquired sophisticated equipment and gadgets to help in exposing persons illegally staying in the country after the expiration of their visa.
He said: “I came to brief Mr President because he has tasked us individually as people in the agency responsible for security like us to see what we can do to make Nigeria safer, greater and more attractive.
“As we are all aware, NIS is a security agency that is responsible for borders, at the same time, it is an agency that contributes to the ease of doing business.
“So, today, I’ve been able to brief Mr President on what we are doing and he has given me additional responsibilities on what we can do to make this country safer and better.
“Nigerians should be happier that the borders will be safer now than before and efforts will be made to make sure there are no counter-crossing across our borders.
“All persons who are in our country, who are non-Nigerians, we must monitor to see what they’re doing that are of benefit to this country.’’
He revealed that the president tasked the agency to ensure that foreigners did not deprive Nigerians their legitimate businesses, and that Nigerian labour must be protected.
“As you are aware, each person enters Nigeria with a condition, whether to do a business or to establish a business, but not to take the business of Nigerians.
“So, Mr. President has tasked us to make sure we look at this issue deeply to make sure that Nigerian labour is protected, Nigerian economy is protected, not taken away by foreigners who just come to do business and take away the money and not to invest.
“I’m glad to say that Mr President has tasked us further. I may not be able to reveal those tasks, but we’ll do our best to keep Nigeria safer through effective borders management and control,’’ he added.
Commenting on ECOWAS protocols on free movement, Babandede said all ECOWAS members must register with NIS after staying in the country for 80 days.
“We have already notified our officers that every member of the ECOWAS must register after staying in the country for 80 days.
“ECOWAS protocols stipulates that you must follow proper routes and you must register and must have valid pasport. It is not about unregulated movement.
“We have prosecuted so many people, jailing them two or three years on illegal ECOWAS movement,’’ he said. (NAN)