by Stanley Azuakola
Very often, the kind of news Nigerians hear is of one foreign country or another deporting Nigerians or denying them visas. It’s not every day one hears the reverse. But that’s exactly the report which was given by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Joachim Olumba.
Mr. Olumba said that between January and May 2012, Nigeria denied 31,556 foreigners entry into the country. He said however, that this was only because the federal government had ordered a closure on the nation’s borders following the spate of terrorist attacks that had plagued some Northern states.
On December 31, 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan in a public broadcast had announced a state of emergency in some local government areas in the North. It was during that broadcast that he ordered closure of the borders.
The number of people denied entry into Nigeria wasn’t the only news borne by the NIS public relations officer. He also said that 5,603 illegal immigrants were also repatriated from the country from January to May of this year.
The immigration service and other relevant agencies have also reached an advanced stage in their discussions to remove settlement areas around Nigeria’s borders. Those already in settlement areas would be resettled and empowered in order to dissuade them from getting involved in illegal activities.
The immigration service is also exploring a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to tackle challenges in the management of the country’s borders, revealed Mr Olumba.
“The arrangement will entail the construction of border plazas with high technology migration facilities, offices and barracks for security operatives,’’ he explained.