President Buhari Directs NIS On Border Security

Newly commissioned NIS Technology building
Newly commissioned NIS Technology building

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to beef-up security and improve surveillance and control around the nation’s borders so as to ensure that criminal elements do not find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality.

President Buhari gave the directive on Thursday during the virtual Commissioning Ceremony of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Technology Building, held at the NIS Headquarters, Sauka, Abuja.

He enjoined all security agencies to raise their performance in protecting lives and property, with a mandate that the country’s Global Security Index must be improved.

“It is imperative that our ranking in the Global Security Index improves and I am using this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their activities towards achieving this goal. I assure you that the administration will give the much needed support to you in your operations,’’ he said.

The President further ordered the NIS in particular, to collaborate with International Security Organizations like INTERPOL in safeguarding the nation’s borders.

“I urge you to actively collaborate with International Security Organizations like the INTERPOL, in safeguarding our borders. Remember that a safe border is a prerequisite for a safe Nation.

“You must develop strong working relationships and ties with the international community and friendly nations as it relates to migration management; adopt and implement workable strategies from them while also sharing your best practices.

“Frontline workers and operators should remember that they are our windows to the world. They must show the best face of Nigeria at all times,’’ the President added.

He commended the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for consistently pushing for the completion of the Technology Building, which will serve as the Command and Control Center of the NIS, as well as the repository of personal data of Nigerians and expatriates resident in Nigeria.

This, he said, was in line with the vision of the present administration which is to formulate and implement policies that will protect and enhance the lives and standards of living for Nigerians, adding that Government is relentless in its avowed desire to create an enabling business environment that will usher in economic boom for Nigerians and all those who do business with Nigerians.

President Buhari also congratulated all officers and men of the NIS for their dedication and urged them to work towards changing the Service into a World Class Migration Management Agency.

Earlier in his speech titled “A new Dawn in Border Management”, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, described the commissioning as a new dawn of a new day at the Service and for border management in Nigeria.
“This development is significant. It is evident in the preeminent role of information technology in security management. In the past, border watchers rely on language, physical look and ethnicity for the purpose of identification. This requires a lot of guess work and the system was beaten easily with disguise. However, the development of photography was a quantum leap in border management as the circulation of pictures of potential trouble makers leads to their arrests and entry denials, though make-up artists could still dance around photographs.”

He said that with digital imagine and its accessories of fingerprints, retina scan and voice print, identity disguise has become nearly impossible, adding that having a data bank and data processing centre provides access to information at the touch of a button. This he says, make it possible to monitor all entries and exists at our borders and have real time information on all immigrants.
The Minister emphasised that the development will have great impact on our security.

“What we have in this complex is the national command and control centre for all data coming from border management outposts, be it satellite, earth connecting stations and unmanned space vehicles. The centre receives and gives out steel and motion pictures and audio signals in real time, coordinating seamlessly movements within our borders.

It is from here also that the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) which enable the agency to coordinate movement of persons at the four airport borders and upload information on missing and stolen passports to INTERPOL data base is coordinated, even though each station can independently connect INTERPOL”.

He stated that the commissioning is the first step in our long time border management programme that would put our entire border line under real time monitoring, thereby giving our law enforcement agencies capacity to totally secure our citizens and land from external threats.

The Minister who expressed his profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his relentless commitment to ensuring that the security and welfare of Nigerians remain a top priority for the administration and the continuous support the Ministry of Interior has enjoyed from Mr, President, assured further that the Ministry and its Services will continue to do everything possible to tackle the security challenges facing our borders.

He stated that the security challenges facing the country were temporal and surmountable, pointing out that the “weakest link’’ had been the land borders and the Technology Building will play a pivotal role in control of illegal migration.

Aregbesola noted that the Visa-on-Arrival policy of the Federal Government is to ease movement of travellers to Nigeria. However, he said, no one gets into the country legitimately without proper documentation. He stated that information is shared with international security agencies to ensure tight surveillance and compliance. He announced a downward review of the period of stay of undocumented migrants from 90 days to 30 days in order to further tighten the nation’s security and minimise any harm that could come from such aliens. He noted that 50 percent of immigration personnel will now work at the borders of the country in order to ensure maximum security at such posts.

The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammed Babandede said the Technology Building remains the best project ever initiated and completed since the service was established in 1958.

He said the deployment of technology from the Control Room will optimize intelligence, ensure that no passport lost, stolen or re-issued can be presented in any part of the world, and that it will enhance synchronization and virtual sharing of information with other security outfits, both at local and international level.

Mohammed Manga
Director (Press & Public Relations)
For: Honourable Minister
March 5, 2021