The Federal Government flagged off the e-registration of migrants in the country on Thursday, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola who flagged off the project as well as commissioned the newly constructed Nigeria Immigration Service command building in Atan Ofot, Akwa Ibom State said the essence of the e-registration was to keep track of foreigners in the country.
The Minister also disclosed that Federal government had approved N52 billion for the e-border project in the country for only this year, 2019 saying this among others were deliberate policies by them to secure the borders.
According to him, “you need to keep track of foreigners in our midst. This is the essence of the e-registration of migrants. We need to know their number, where they live and what they do, though in an unobtrusive manner that will not infringe on their liberty and fundamental rights.
“Those that are peaceful and law abiding should be given the best cooperation possible while those who are abusing our hospitality and violating our laws should be made to face the music. This is the practice worldwide. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Aregbesola who described borders as theatre of undeclared economic and social warfare where smuggling and economic sabotage take place and international boundaries where ‘illegal immigration and swamping of the population thrive’ disclosed that the reforms being introduced into NIS is to make its services seamless and more efficient, especially the issuance of Nigerian Passport within 48 hours.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitments in strengthening internal security.
He also commended the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel for paying for the land where the NIS command is built as well as the host community for providing a conducive environment.
Earlier, the comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede in his speech said the commission was poised to infrastructural and human capital development.
He noted that NIS under his watch has commissioned various office complexes in states like, Abia, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau adding that before the end of 2019 at least five command office complexes will be commissioned.
He added, “We are currently constructing our technology building, which after completion, will enable the Service have a data-sharing ecosystem where relevant agencies can access data of citizens and migrants real time.”
In his welcome address The NIS command Comptroller, Livingstone Amadi, said that Akwa Ibom command headquarters has been in the federal secretariat for the past thirty two years of operation, thanking the state government, federal government and all the stakeholders for making the vision of a secretariat a reality.
“for thirty two years of Nigeria Immigration Service, Akwa Ibom State command Headquarters carried out her operations inside the federal secretariat complex until when the Comptroller-General visited Uyo and promised to build a befitting command headquarters, this, he has done today.”
Also, the village head of Atan Ofot, Etteidung Idongesit Ekong, promised a cordial working environment to the command and urged them to uphold the tenets of the Memorandum of Understanding reached.
He added that 10 percent of the command’s workforce should be the people of Atan offot as the host community.