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Delta Governor Flags-off Migrants e-registration Programme

By Kenneth Nwoke, The Nigerian Voice, Owerri

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has flagged-off the documentation of migrants registration aimed at ensuring adequate planning, budgeting and assistance in the security of lives and property.

The governor who was represented Thursday by the Commissioner for Power and Energy, Mr. Basil Ganagana, at the official flag-off of Migrants e-registration programme and the commissioning of a 500KVA Transformer at the state Command.

The governor observed that it was important for appropriate reforms to be taken for the benefits of Nigerians and the country.

He said that it is very important both for security purposes and for our population plan for foreigners to be documented as inappropriate documentation could impact negatively on the planning for the nation as it regards taking care of the people.

“So, without the right account of our people, our resources will become depleted and planning will be affected drastically,”

He continued: “We must congratulate the step taken by the Nigerian Immigration service on the immigrant reform; I think it is important for us as a nation because you find out that people from other countries just come into our country and settle in any part of the nation

“They are not documented in any manner and that is not good for a nation because if they commit crimes, they cannot be traced and it is important that even without people committing crime, we should have documentations of foreigners in our country.”

Flagging off the program at the ceremony, Dr Okowa commended the NIS for initiating landmark reforms, stating, "I am very excited to be briefed on some of these projects that you have embarked on especially on the issue concerning e-passport which will be tied down to national identity.

“It is something that is very innovative, something that I believe can really help us in national security, because, people bearing all manner of names and people with more than one passport will surely become a thing of the past; so, we want to thank you for thinking about this thoroughly and bringing up this reform".

Governor Okowa assured NIS of his administration’s continual support as they are rendering vital services to Deltans and Nigerians in general.

He comemded the Nigerian Immigration Service for working with other stakeholders as well as the general public to ensure that all foreigners in their respective households are compelled to participate in the registration exercise

Appreciating the Nigeria Immgration Service, he added that the foreigner registration pilot sites are landmark achievements and the first of its kind in West Africa.

In his remarks, the Comptroller of Immigration, Delta State Command, Ibrahim Liman, commended Okowa for his administration’s numerous support for NIS Delta State.

He cautioned Nigerians especially Deltan that provides accommodation to migrants to educate them on the need for them to obey and get registered.

He said, approval to commence the registration of migrants, was given last year by President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that “we felt it is not enough to start inviting migrants to register until we prepare our staff, get equipments flag the program off and sensitize the public before commencement

According to him, “this excercise is free. No money will be paid by any migrant to be registered. It is free. No migrant will be asked to pay. What we have commissioned today is very strategic for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), development

"It is intended for anybody who is not a Citizen of Nigeria and who has entered our territory stayed for a period exceeding 90 days. It is mandatory for that person and also mandatory for the person who provides accommodation for that person anywhere that person sleeps to ensure that the migrant is registered. We have a training curriculum for this to guild officers. There is sanction according to the law

"And we have set up the equipment used for migrants e- registration, officers have been trained for training centers. The software have been concluded. The excercise is already taking place in every state of the federation. The donors are supporting all the states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).This means that NIS has prepared its IT base. People do not really need to come to the NIS office for registration. You can register online but before we take your biometrics, you will complete and upload all the documents required. Then by the time you come to the NIS office, we will just take your biometrics, take your photograph and allow you to go

He said, the International Organization for immigration have aligned with various financial and developmental partners in order to support the strengthening of NIS capacity to meet the needs of the safe and orderly migrants processing, to facilitate access to travel documents, improve ability to detect fraudulent documentation and boost its capacity to combat irregular migration

"Before now, President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday, July 12 urged migrants staying in the country or those that have stayed within six months should submit themselves for e-registration at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters, Abuja.

He noted that the federal government has the right to know each migrant in Nigeria, adding that the registration process will further enhance the internal security of the country.

At the official commissioning of the migrant e-registration center and passport data processing center in Abuja, the president disclosed that migrants should take advantage of the six months amnesty period to avoid penalty.

The president described the move as government’s deliberate commitment to harnessing accurate data of its citizens and statistics of migrants, especially those who wish to stay beyond 90 days within the shores of Nigeria

He said the centres are significant to the nation’s drive for robust internal security and national development, adding that “while the Migrant e-Registration Centre will collate and store data of non-Nigerians within our shores, the Passport Application Processing Centre, on the other hand, will provide improved issuance of passports and eliminate touting as well as corruption in line with government’s policy on Ease of Doing Business, thus, promoting transparency and efficiency in service delivery”.

On his part, Comptroller Delta State Nigeria Immigration Service NIS, Ibrahim D Liman said the commissioning of the Migrant e-Registration Centre is significant as it kick-starts the e-Registration of all migrants in Nigeria.

He said, the Immigration Regulations 2017, under Section 22 sub section 1 and 2 provides that; “The Service shall maintain a Registry of Immigrants” and “That a register of all Immigrants shall be kept in the registry containing such information and particulars of an Immigrant as he may from time to time direct.

Adding that the need for it is to have comprehensive list of foreigners in the country. Those that already residents and those that will stay for a period of six months.

He advised that the migrants e- registration will help to capture them in the government planning.

Another reason is that it will help in data base. What so ever the government is doing as regards to foreigners who resides in Nigeria you will benefit from it because your data base is with Nigerian Immigration Service.

He added that some of the foreigners from African Countries have started applying for registrations in their office while different African Chairman of foreigners have started partaking in the same excercise.

He however noted that after the flagging off programme more foreigners will comply with the migrants e- registration excercise in the state.

He said the nationwide exercise was aimed at exposing non-Nigerians who have either over stayed beyond their stipulated period or entered the country illegally

added that this year will be eventful for the service with a number of activities including upgrading of Nigerian passport and extension of its validity period to 10 years, changing the service to an IT driven institution and ensuring more efficient services.