Operatives of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) in Bayelsa State have arrested 644 illegal migrants living in the state during its five-day special operation tagged “Saukan Shaho” to flush out illegal migrants.
According to the NIS, the special operation “Saukan Shaho” meaning the ‘Eagle has landed‘, was sanctioned by the Comptroller-General of the agency, Isah Jere Idris and supported by the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri.
However, the operation led to the arrest of 44 Nigeriens, 35 Togolese, 20 Beninese and 6 Ghanaians.
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The Bayelsa State Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Sunday James, while speaking with journalists in Yenagoa at the end of the operation, stated that the NIS personnel followed the laid down acceptable ECOWAS protocol and United Nations rules of engagement and respect to human rights.
He said the operation, however, led to the proper documentation of illegal migrants, moreso, about 89 expired travelled documents were renewed for some arrested illegal migrants, while the other illegal immigrants have been guaranteed by their home countries of quick documentation.
James added that the database of the NIS is more robust from the operation.
He commended Governor Douye Diri for his support and understanding that the operation was in the national interest and not targeted at any individual or tribe.
The NIS boss explained that the command had to meet with the leaders of the Hausa community in the state to explain the purpose of the operation assuring them that it was not targeted at Nigerians.
He said the command embarked on the operation between the 9th and the 19th of September, 2022 and raided major areas identified by the intelligence unit including the Arittalin, Swali, Onopa, Azikoro, Okaka, Bayelsa Plam, Ogbogoro, Obele, Otiotio, Famgbe and areas of Yenagoa where they operate Bureau De Change.
He also expressed concern over the movement of other illegal migrants escaping to neighbouring states of Delta, Rivers and Edo and called for a similar operation in those states to fish out those that escaped being screened in Bayelsa.