Says inland checkpoints previously allowed officers to check the movement of illegal immigrants on highways

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has blamed the influx of illegal aliens in the country on the dismantling of inland checkpoints on the highways.

The Comptroller of Immigration in Benue,  Yahaya Yunusa, on Thursday said that the dismantling of the checkpoints aided the influx of illegal aliens through road transport.  

According to him, the inland checks previously enabled the officers to control the movement of aliens on the highways, but now the NIS  had to depend on other strategies to check aliens.  

Yunusa said Benue was lucky to have few of such cases, owing to its difficult border terrain. He, however, pointed out that some still manage to slip into the state.  

“Now that the checkpoints are dismantled, it is difficult to apprehend those travelling on the road,” Yunusa said.  “Most of the border towns are mountainous, forested and not motorable, so, it is difficult for them to enter through there.

“Some of  the few cases we had, came through Ikom, in Cross River. Only last week, we sent back 14 Nigeriens to their country for not possessing valid travel documents. In fact, in the last three months, we have arrested and repatriated 70 illegal aliens to some of the countries  situated on the border lines with Benue.”

He said there were no foreign nationals working in the state civil service either as nurses or teachers but admitted that there were “quite a number of them who are hired for menial jobs”.  

Yunusa noted that the ECOWAS protocol allowed foreign nationals to work as either skilled or unskilled labour if they possessed valid travel documents and were properly employed.

He, however, said the service was collaborating with non-Nigerian communities in the state to ensure that foreigners, who were not registered members, were handed over to the command.  

Yunusa appealed to the people to be security conscious and to report the presence of all non-Nigerians in their communities to the security agencies.  He commended the synergy with the other security  agencies in the state, describing it as “wonderful”.

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