Why we embarked on documentation of foreigners – Immigration

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has explained that it has emback on

registration of foreigners in the country as part of its determination to

deal with threats to national security and other associated issues.

Consequently, the agency has directed the affected foreigners to present

themselves for registration at Nigeria Immigration Service’s offices across

the 36 states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede,

who disclosed government’s plan said the documentation will include

collection of migrants’ biometrics, upon completion of online requirements.

Those affected, according to the CGI, are migrants, who had stayed for a

period exceeding ninety days.

While announcing incentive for compliant migrants, Babandede, however,

warned that there will be sanctions for those found wanting.

The Immigration chief spoke at the inauguration of a training centre,

launch of the NIS’ curriculum, as well as the commissioning of a petrol

station, at the Service’s headquarters, Abuja.

“And this registration will not be expecting people to come physically to

Inmigration office, to do the registration. It is web-based. You will

register online. But, before we take your biometrics, you will complete and

upload all the documents. By the time you come to the Immigration office ,

we will just take your biometrics, capture your photograph, and allow you

to go”, Babandede said.

He said: “It is intended for anybody, who is not a citizen of

Nigeria, who has entered our territory, stayed for a period exceeding

ninety days; it is mandatory for that person, and also mandatory for the

person who provided the accommodation (house, hotel or farm), to ensure

that that person is registered.

To achieve the desired objective, the CGI noted that officers will be

trained at the centre, which will be “replicated” across the 36 states of

the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Minister of Interior is expected  to engage governors on the policy

direction, since those targeted live in states,

“Approval has been given by Mr. President last year. And we felt it is not

enough just to start inviting migrants to register, until we prepare our

staff  – we get eequipment, sensitise the public,

“This is the stage we are now. We have been able to get equipment, training

centre, offices have been trained for train-rhe-trainers, the software has

been concluded.It will be rolled out in each state of the federation. The

donors are supporting two stations, thirty seven states, including the FCT.

But, we will have two additional centrea in Lagos and Kano.

“We hope by next week – the minister will lead this – he will provide

leadership on how to engage with the governors…

“We need the support of all state governors. Migrants reside not in federal

government offices, but reside in the states, and the Federal Capital

Territory”, Babandede said.

On whether the registration of migrants will attract fees, the CGI said:

“There is no single Kobo tobe paid by a migrant to be registered. It’s

going to be free,and I make it categorically free. What we have

commissioned today, are very strategic for NIS’ development. First, we

commissioned the training centre. That training centre is supposed to be

training centre for all our form or training.

“We are not going to rely on officers going to physical training

institutions. Each individual will come down and read, do training, sit for

examination, pass; tomorrow,he can continue. It’s available for officers


“This, we are going to replicate in every state of the Federation.

Particularly,this one is founded by the support by the support of donors,

headed by IOM.

“But, what we want to use it (training centre) immediately for, is migrant

registration. Migrants will be registered.”

On likely sanctions for defaulters, Babandede said; “Oh, definitely, in the

Act, penalty is available… There is sanction, according to the law, but

there is also incentive.”

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