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Tighten border security, Buhari tells Immigration

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to improve surveillance and control around the nation’s borders to ensure that criminal elements do not find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their crimes. Buhari gave this order in his speech at the virtual Commissioning Ceremony of the NIS Technology Building at the Presidential Villa yesterday. The Presidential order is coming on the heels of rising tension brought about by the activities of terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers in the country.

There are speculations that most of the criminals are foreigners who took advantage of the nation’s porous borders to sneak in and out of Nigeria to wreak havocs. Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who also spoke at the event, disclosed that half of the workforce of the Immigration will now be deployed to work at the country’s various borders.

He took advantage of the occasion to announce a review of stay permit of beneficiaries of visa-on-arrival policy from 90 to 30 days. The President, according to his spokesman, Femi Adesina, instructed 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.

“It is imperative that our ranking in the Global Security Index improves and I am using this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their activities towards achieving this goal. I assure you that the administration will give the much needed support to you in your operations,” Buhari said.

The President directed the Immigration to collaborate with international security organizations like INTERPOL in safeguarding the borders. “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 organizations 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 added.

Buhari commended the Minister of Interior 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 economic boom for Nigerians and all those who do business with and in Nigeria,” he said. The President 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, the Minister of Interior assured that the security challenges facing the country were 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. Aregbesola 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. He said 50 per cent 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 reissued 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 President Buhari for approving the project in 2018 and following up with the completion of all phases of the Technology Building.

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