By Lekan Olanrewaju
About 5000 foreigners mainly from Niger and Chad have, according to immigration services, been sent back to their home countries from Nigeria over the past six months to curb growing extremist insurgency.
“We have repatriated some 5 000 foreigners, including those who have been refused entry into the country,” immigration services spokesperson Joachim Olumba told AFP on Monday.
This is reportedly due to the theory that the extremist sect Boko Haram which is responsible for attacks claiming hundreds of lives in the country, draws some of its members from Nigeria’s neigbouring countries.
Olumba said the repatriation “has been intensified in the past six months following the Boko Haram insurgency”, adding: “We have an obligation to rid the country of undesirable elements.”
He also said immigration officers last week caught 120 people trying to enter illegally from Niger “and we quickly sent them back to their country”.
The sect, which Nigeria’s military authorities last week said had ties with al-Qaeda, has previously said it wants to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s deeply impoverished north.