Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:17 am
Edo State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Wednesday arrested about 400 persons for alleged illegal entry into the country.
The suspects were said to have been arrested in a mop-up exercise that began at about 4 am across the 18 local government areas of the State.
It was gathered that some of the suspects who were nabbed in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan West and Uhunmwode local government areas, allegedly forced their way into Nigeria from neighbouring countries like the Niger Republic, Mali and Chad.
Three officers of the agency were said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries when they were attacked during the operation.
The State Comptroller of NIS, Mr. David Adi, confirmed the arrest, said that the exercise became necessary following intelligence reports that many irregular immigrants had relocated to the state, without any means of livelihood.
He stated that though citizens of ECOWAS member countries had the privilege of free movement, such persons should possess the right documents and travel through approved routes.
According to him, “There are specific laws that specify how they (immigrants) should come in. Our law says that they should come in with proper travel documents and through approved entry points.
“But the security reports available to us indicated that many of them are in Edo State and they came in through illegal routes. If we do not ease them out, they will constitute serious security threats to this country. All of us know the security situation in this country.”
One of the suspects, 30-year-old Awal Saidu, who said he was arrested along with 30 others, after entering Nigeria through Niger on Sunday, explained that he had left Yame, his hometown, in search of employment.
“I came in three days ago, through Katsina, in search of a job. There is no job in my country.
“We were about 30 who came into the country. But I was arrested at Ugbiyokho, where I work as a cleaner,” Saidu said.
The State Comptroller of NIS, disclosed that those found without proper travel documents would be deported to their home countries after undergoing a screening process to ascertain their nationalities.
”Those of them who are Nigerians will be released to go home. Then, we will take those of them who are foreigners without proper documents back to their countries.
“Some of them claim that they are from Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa or Kebbi. But we, as professionals, always fish them out,” he said.