Nigeria Border closure not against ECOWAS – Immigration Boss

Acheme Jack, Kano

The NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede

The Comptroller general, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede says the partial closure of Nigeria’s Border with neighboring countries is not aimed at distorting relationships or economic activities of any member states of the Economic community of West African states, ECOWAS, but for national security and economic development of the Nigerian state.

He made the assertion  during the graduation ceremony of the upgraded officers of the Nigeria immigration service at the nation’s foremost Immigration Training school, Kano state north western Nigeria.

He said the partial land, sea and air closure policy of the Nigeria government is not against the ECOWAS, but to ensure sanity in Nigeria especially in the areas of National security as peoples’ movements are controlled and economic development as it will create employment opportunities as local productions are enhanced.

what we are saying is obvious, the land borders have been closed partially because of the operation “Swift Response” being coordinated by the office of the national security adviser of which I said is of great security and economic benefit to Nigeria.

“No country in the world would allow people and products to enter into its territory through any just available routes and without valid travel documents,” he said.

He, however said the border crossing saga has been eased by the Nigerian government for Non-Nigerians and Nigerian alike but only through a controlled border post and for those with genuine travelling documents

Immigration has allowed through the approval of Mr. President in order to ease tension for the people that both our citizens and non-Nigerians can enter and leave Nigeria only through a recognized immigration control post and they cannot leave without a travel document,” explained Babandede.

Nigeria had since the month of August this year closed its borders with neighbouring countries to stop importation of some banned commodities which include Rice which is highly cultivated in the country as well smuggling of some products from the country especially petroleum. The policy was also stretched to include the movement of human beings.

On the graduation ceremony, he said the reason for the upgrade and conversion training for the officers was to prepare them for leadership positions in their career in the immigration and in their service to the public  as they move from junior to senior cadre.

“Before they were superintendent cadre or supporting officers but with their training and upgrade they can be held accountable.  They can now head units wherever they are, so it is like preparing them for leadership. Doing that will enhance the service they have to deliver to the public,” he added

The commandant of the training school urged the participants to be of good behavior and put to work all they have learnt in the course of the training.