The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for closure of illegal entry points into the country to curb nefarious activities of some illegal migrants.
The governor made the call while declaring open the 2019 Comptroller-General of Immigration’s Annual Conference in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Obaseki said Nigeria must join other countries in tightening their porous borders to prevent illegal migration.
He said, “There are about 1, 490 illegal entering points into the country and this is encouraging illegal migration into the country. Some of these illegal migrants commit crimes in the country and even have the Nigeria Voters Card. It is worthwhile for any country to develop a policy on migration as it is necessary to manage a country’s economy”.
Obaseki, however, commended the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for the introduction of the National Biometric Identity Card for Intra-ECOWAS Travel and Biometric Registration of Foreign Nationals as a new security measure in the country.
He said the theme of the conference, ‘Migration Management in a Developing Economy; the Role of NIS’ was apt as it would afford stakeholders the opportunity to evaluate their roles in combating illegal migration and deliberate a way forward.
Delivering a paper presentation at the conference, entitled ‘Government’s Effort at Curtailing Irregular Migration: The Edo Experience,’ the governor said the state was committed to supporting policies aimed at reducing illegal migration.
He listed four modalities put in place by the state to combat illegal migration to Europe, to include Returnees Management; Resettlement and Reintegration; Advocacy and Awareness Promotion; Promotion of Human Rights and Development of the state’s economy.
The governor said youths in the state were being trained and empowered with vocational skills and linked to jobs, while the basic education sector has been reformed to discourage citizens from embarking on illegal migration.
Earlier, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the Federal Government was working towards the introduction of a better technology for the issuance of the Nigeria Passport such that there would not be physical contact between the passport seeker and passport provider.
Aregbesola said the new method of issuance would reduce fraud in the system.
He noted that the NIS Conference was to appraise the activities of the service for better management of migration in line with global practices.
On his part, the Comptroller General, NIS, Muhammad Babandede commended the Edo State Government for its efforts and commitment in the fight against human trafficking in the state.
Babandede explained that Edo State was chosen for the conference due to its commitment and determination in managing migration in the state, noting that while people see the negative sides of migration, the conference is aimed to expose the benefits and positive sides of migration, including its economic value to the state and nation.
“It is not wrong to travel but what is important is to manage it so that the travellers, the state and federal governments, alongside the destination countries benefit from migration,” he added.