Abiodun OBA | President Muhammadu Buhari has lampooned the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) over Nigeria’s porous borders. The president however directed the Service to improve surveillance and control around the borders. He directed the service to ensure that criminals do not find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate criminality. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President gave the directive in his speech at the virtual inauguration of the NIS Technology Building. The statement was titled “President Buhari directs Immigration Service to tighten security around borders, urges security outfits to raise performance.” The President was quoted also as instructing all security agencies to raise their performance in protecting lives and property, with a mandate that the country’s Global Security Index must be improved. He promised them his administration will give the needed support for their operations. He also urged the NIS to collaborate with international security organisations like INTERPOL in safeguarding the borders. He said,
“As a security agency, I charge you to be relentless in carrying out your statutory duties of keeping our borders safe while you ensure that criminal elements don’t find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality. “I urge you to actively collaborate with international security organisations like the INTERPOL, in safeguarding our borders. Remember that a safe border is a prerequisite for a safe nation. “You must develop strong working relationships and ties with the international community and friendly nations as it relates to migration management; adopt and implement workable strategies from them while also sharing your best practices. “Frontline workers and operators should remember that they are our windows to the world. They must show the best face of Nigeria at all times.”
The President commended the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for consistently pushing for the completion of the Technology Building, which will serve as the Command and Control Centre of the NIS, as well as the repository of personal data of Nigerians and expatriates resident in Nigeria.
“This is in line with the vision of our administration to formulate and implement policies that will protect and enhance the lives and standards of living for Nigerians. “This administration is relentless in its avowed desire to create an enabling business environment that will usher in an economic boom for Nigerians and all those who do business with and in Nigeria,” he said.
Buhari also congratulated all officers and men of the NIS for their dedication and work towards changing into a World Class Migration Management Agency. In his remarks, Aregbesola was quoted as assuring all, that the security challenges facing the country are temporal and surmountable, pointing out that the “weakest link’’ had been the land borders and the Technology Building will play a pivotal role in control of illegal migration. The minister noted that the Visa-on-Arrival policy of the Federal Government gets proper documentation of all entrants and sharing with international security structures to ensure tight surveillance and compliance, while announcing a review period of stay from 90 days to 30 days. He said 50 percent of all immigration personnel will now work at the borders of the country. The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammed Babandede, said the Technology Building remains the best project the service had ever initiated and completed since it was established in 1958. He said the deployment of technology from the Control Room will optimize intelligence, ensure that no passport lost, stolen or re-issued can be presented in any part of the world, and enhance synchronization and virtual sharing of information with other security outfits, both local and international. The minister and immigration boss thanked Buhari for approving the project in 2018 and following up with the completion of all phases of the Technology Building.