The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) said it had stopped 1,111 people from entering Nigeria since August 20, 2019 when the country’s land borders were partially closed.
It also declared that any foreigner living in Nigeria that failed to register their biometrics with the NIS before January 19, 2020, would be deported.
The Comptroller-General, NIS, Muhammed Babandede, who disclosed this during a joint press briefing in Abuja, stated that these resolutions were in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States Protocol on Transit.
He said, “The law is very clear and it says ‘Do not enter any ECOWAS country unless you have a valid travel document’. So, it is important to state that if you don’t have travel documents, we cannot allow you to enter or leave Nigeria.”
Babandede said the NIS stopped 142 Nigerians from departing the country during the period, adding that over 1,000 immigrants from other nations had been denied entry into Nigeria
He said, “We have refused entry of 1,111 people who wanted to enter our territory, but because they don’t have the required travel documents we turned them back.
“We have also removed people who had already entered. In fact, 728 people have been removed. We have arrested Pakistanis and North Koreans at the borders and they are meant to be deported.”
On why foreigners staying in Nigeria must register their biometric, the NIS boss said, “Mr President approved an amnesty for all migrants staying in this country. And this means that any migrant that has overstayed in this country can have their biometrics registered between now and January 19, 2020.”
Stakeholders have assumed different positions concerning the total border closure. While palm oil producers applaud it, freight forwarders have condemned it.