Immigration unveils plans to tackle migration challenges

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, has unveiled a National Border Management Strategy document.

This will facilitate legitimate travels and trade for the growth of the economy.

The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede performed the unveiling in Calabar, Cross River State.

Sensitisation
Babandede said that the document was launched to sensitise stakeholders and Nigerians in the south-south geopolitical zones on the NIS border management especially in its core responsibilities and operational areas.

He said; “this is to sensitize Nigerians including members of the stakeholders forum on border management at the geopolitical zones. It is to enhance our role in managing the borders well with particular interest in NIS core responsibilities and operational areas through the deployment of technology on the land, sea, air”.

“The 5 years strategic plan would also help us in interior management and the management of Nigerians from abroad; travel document management; management of our visa policy as well as Nigeria’s fight against trafficking since it was developed in collaboration of all stakeholders.”

Muhammed Babandede was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General, Training and Staff Development, Cecilia Funke Adeuyi.

Data Management
Representative of the Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration, IOM, Ines Mutashobya said its long standing partnership with NIS resulted to the implementation of some programmes such as assisted voluntary return and reintegration; data and policy activities, immigration border management; and the installation of migration data service amongst others.

Mutashobya said that the NIS National Border Management Strategy was developed through intensive internal and inter-agency consultations, which started from October 2018 through March 2019 with representatives of the Stakeholders Forum on Border Management (SFBM), and other key external stakeholders.

She disclosed that the strategy was facilitated and supported by IOM Nigeria within the framework of the “European Union (EU) and IOM Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria” and funded by the EU.

According to her, “the rationale for the strategy was to articulate a renewed vision and approach to border management in Nigeria, promote inter-agency cooperation as well as focus on regional, continental and international aspects of migration management that directly affect Nigeria’s approach to border management”.

Enhancing Security
The Comptroller Immigration Calabar Command, Okey Ezugwu said that Cross River shared boundaries with the Republic of Cameroon along six of its 18 local government areas and in proximity to Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe.

Ezugwu lauded the Comptroller General for the infrastructural development and policy initiatives, which has translated to the presentation of the final copy of the strategy document.

“The need for proper border management strategy cannot be overemphasized because it will facilitate legitimate travels and trade thus growing the Nigerian economy while preventing the entry of would be terrorists and criminals like drug and human traffickers and significantly reduce irregular immigrants,” the Comptroller stated.

He urged all stakeholders present including foreign nationals to collaborate with the service in sensitisation of people to avoid “any security infractions at the border and within the country. security is everybody’s business. All must collaborate to secure Nigeria and make it peaceful”.

The one day stakeholder sensitisation workshop was attended by Comptroller Immigrations from States within the south-south geopolitical zone, a representative of the Cross River State Government, traditional rulers, other security agencies and members of the diplomatic corps.

 

Confidence Okwuchi