The Federal Government has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to be on top of its game by putting in place a strict implementation process of the Border Management Strategy that was unveiled today in order to ensure border safety and security.
The Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola gave the directives when he declared open the Comptroller General Management Retreat 2019 and launching of Border Management Strategy Document held in Lagos.
He said that the Retreat was organised for the Management Cadre Officers to brainstorm and fashion out means of implementing the reforms being carried out by the Service in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s focus, which is Security, Economy and Transparency (SET).
Aregbesola said further that the Retreat will provide the major input in the development of several Strategic Document of NIS to cover 2019 – 2023, adding that the officers and men of the Service must act as moral agents and in the best interest of the country, as it is only then that the efficient Border Security Management would be achieved.
“The primary role of the Immigration Service is the Security of the border and migration management. No unwanted , suspicious and criminal person must be allowed entry into our nation just as we are to prevent the exit from Nigeria of all known domestic real felons and or domestic potential felons from leaving Nigeria to tarnish our image abroad”, he said.
The Minister observed further that Technology and Transparency remain paramount for efficient and effective Border Security Management especially in the contemporary situation where crime and criminality has assumed its complex status.
“All officers of the Service must as a matter of urgency, embrace the digital tradition and be technology/computer compliant, particularly at the senior and management level. Our officers must shun all forms of corruption through openness and transparency in the discharge of their duties”, Aregbesola said.
He called on participants at the Retreat to debate and agree on the model and period it must take for a Nigerian to apply for and obtain the passport from our system anywhere in the world as swiftly as possible within the minimum human contact.
“Should there be justifiable delay in delivering on this commitment, there must be a mechanism to communicate, such reasons (s) within a period as agreed in the retreat to such applicant for the passport which must not be later than 72 hours, after discovering such reason.”
The Minister emphasized that with technology, Nigeria Immigration Service must eliminate the tradition of endless wait for obtaining the Nigerian Passport by Nigerians desirous of having one.
“With technology, it is possible to process and obtain the passport within 48 hours, if the application does not have any issues. Nigerian passport should be available within 48 hours maximum after application and at the official fee, the same goes for entry visa, resident permit, seamen license, as well as application and processing of other services”, he said.
Equally important, Aregbesola said, is for the Service to develop a separate route for special people in our border stations particularly at the arrival halls of international airports to prevent the prevalent ugly and embarrassing incidents of people jumping the queue at the immigration desks.
He called on the Nigeria Immigration Service to deliver on its mandate to serve Nigeria with heart and might by taming all threats to internal security thereby ensuring the safety of the citizens.
“Our service must focus on supporting the Federal Government’s drive on ease of doing business. On the flipside, no one should be allowed into Nigeria who should not be within our borders”.
Stressing further, “I must let you know that the security architecture of the nation is built on the network of individuals like you. Don’t ever think that one person is inconsequential. Every person in the immigration service is important. The whole is the sum of the part. If one part is taken away, it cannot be whole again”, he said.
While commending the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede for his efficiency and pro-activeness to border issues, he reminded the officers and men of the Service to see themselves as the face of Nigeria and the pride of the Ministry.
Speaking earlier, the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Muhammad Babandede assured that the Service will key into the SET policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration through efficient border security management so as to improve internal security, rejuvenate the economy and entrench transparency in the system.
Director (Press & Public Relations)
For: Permanent Secretary