By G9ija

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has decried the inadequacy within its workforce which it is said has prevented the service from properly manning the nation’s borderlines.

Acting Controller-General of Immigration (CGI), Isah Idris, stated this during a virtual media interaction where he said the major responsibility of the service was border security, without overlooking the importance of passport issuance as another mandate.

According to him, the entire workforce of NIS is not more than 25,000 while Nigeria’s borders are massive, covering 5,330 kilometres with an estimated 1,490 illegal entry points into the country.

“So, it is increasingly difficult for us to adequately man the borderlines,” the NIS boss admitted. “That is why we have continued to appeal to the government to increase our budgetary allocations and also grant us approval for recruitments to reinforce the workforce.

“We thank the President and the team for the approval and the recruitment we carried out in 2021, but the reality is that we need more personnel to achieve effective border management and control.”

Idris said the NIS has taken some measures to improve border security and tackle the influx of illegal migrants in the country.

For him, the best way to man the vast border points in Nigeria is the deployment of technology and with NIS technology building already in place, efforts have reached an advanced stage to launch electronic border management systems across 84 border locations.

The NIS chief added that the border patrol system was also being enhanced to ensure close and improved monitoring with the available personnel.

He revealed that the NIS conducts raids regularly and many irregular residents in Nigeria are regularly picked up and eased out.

Idris, however, cautioned Nigerians that not every non-Nigerian seen in the country should be classified as an illegal migrant, saying ECOWAS protocol which Nigeria is a signatory to also grants citizens of member-states freedom which comes with conditions.

“So, it takes experts like our men to determine if a non-Nigerian is an illegal resident or not,” he said. “Some of them have their papers that permit them to stay for a certain period based on the protocols we are committed to as a nation.

“We carry out raids and most times we don’t announce this for some diplomatic reasons. But I can assure Nigerians that we are doing our best to ensure that only legal migrants live and work in Nigeria. Just two days ago, three illegal Sudanese residents in Nigeria were picked up. So, we are not resting.”