The acting Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Caroline Adepoju has said that illegal immigration has drastically reduced because the service no longer allows immigrants into the country through irregular routes and borders.
She stated this during an interview with Channels Television on Thursday.
Adepoju who assumed office as the acting Comptroller-General in May said the service had declared a state of emergency on passport concerns.
She said due to the long time it took Nigerians to renew their passports, the service was working to introduce online passport renewal so that people would not have to visit immigration offices to renew their passports.
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On the issue of illegal immigration, she said, “Our borders are manned better these days. We have deployed in many places. Where we call illegal routes are where we do not have immigration control posts. So people use those routes because of the peculiar nature of our borders which are contiguous with our neighbouring countries.
“In many parts of Nigeria, you will discover that the people on both sides of the divide share the same language, the same culture, the same ancestry. But there are designated routes where we have immigration personnel who can endorse travel documents.
“West Africans due to the ECOWAS treaty are allowed to come into Nigeria, but they must come through recognized routes. It’s when people try to beat these procedures like when they are coming without ECOWAS travel documents that they try to beat our personnel. But as much as we could, we have deployed personnel there. We channeled them to the appropriate routes where the travel documents will be checked and the ones that need endorsements, we give.
“So the number of illegal immigrants has now drastically reduced. We do not allow people to enter through illegal channels again. Anyone trying to beat our recognized routes, like the regular airports, the seaports, our land borders, anybody trying to beat that is considered illegal immigrants and they are not allowed to come in.”