The Federal Government has inaugurated a new immigration regulation aimed at curbing the influx of terrorists, killer herdsmen and other irregular immigrants.
The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.) who presented the document on Monday in Abuja, explained that it was also designed to enhance the protection of the country’s borders against transnational crimes through collaboration with the Interpol.
He stated that the regulation replaced the 1963 document based on the need to make the Nigeria Immigration Service responsive to global migration trends.
According to Dambazau, the new regulation includes temporary permit, visa on arrival, entry for business purposes and immigrants’ register, among others.
He said, “It will curtail trans-border movement. There is absolutely no doubt that we have herdsmen who go from Nigeria to other countries and we also have herdsmen from other countries that come to Nigeria.
“So, this regulation will be able to enhance ECOWAS’ decision on trans-border movement which has been (in existence) since 1998 but has not been implemented. We are working on that. As you know, the issue of herdsmen and farmers’ clashes is not just a local issue; it is an issue that has wider regional implications because ECOWAS once recognised free movement across borders.”
The Comptroller-General, NIS, Mohammed Babandede, said that until May 21, 2015 when the revised Immigration Act was enacted, his agency operated with the 1963 Act “which was not only obsolete but grossly inadequate to contain unfolding migratory realities.”
According to him, aside from providing a legal framework for an effective implementation of the 2015 Act, the revised document consolidated all existing immigration regulations.
He explained that the revised regulation was a product of painstaking discourse that included contributions from experts as well as serving and retired immigration officers.
While presenting the highlights of the immigration regulation, the legal adviser, Ministry of Interior, Adebola Odugbesan, disclosed that the first Immigration Act, passed by the parliament in 1963 only allowed a maximum of N100 fine for offenders but the new one has increased the fine to N1m.