The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Ba­bandede, has nurtured a positive mindset and a strong mental power geared towards repositioning the service. His endowment with the gift of logic, decisiveness, and strength has given him the power to create and nurture ideas aimed at transforming the service, writes ANGELEEN NKWOCHA.
The Nigeria Immi­gration Service un­der the leadership of its current Comptroller General, Muhammad Ba­bandede, recently unveiled a new immigration policy known as “Immigration Regulations 2017,” to check the entry of terror­ists and other trans-border crimes in the country.
While unveiling the document in Abuja, the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), said the document would fast-track the ease of doing business in Nige­ria; operationalize the Im­migration Act, 2015 and provide the legal frame­work for the dynamic and unfolding migratory reali­ties.
Mr. Dambazau said the new regulation would re­place the old and outdated Immigration Act of 1963, which could not take care of modern realities such as terrorism, technology and new immigration chal­lenges.
“The objective of this new Immigration Regula­tions 2007 is to provide the legal framework for the ef­fective implementation of the Immigration Act, 2015 and consolidate existing immigration regulations.
This new document therefore replaces the out­dated Immigration Act of 1963,’’ he said
He explained that the new document empowers the NIS to properly regis­ter all foreigners, protect the borders, enhance in­ternal security and attract foreign investors using the latest technology, add­ing that with the policy in place, the NIS would be empowered to regis­ter and monitor the entry and movement of for­eign herdsmen who come into the country thereby checking the herdsmen and farmers clashes.
The Immigration boss said the new policy would positively change the op­erations of NIS in line with international best practic­es.
“The Immigration Act, 2015 made some profound provisions such as the es­tablishment of migration directorate, dealing with issues bordering on smug­gling of migrants and so on.
“I can assure you that with the Immigration Reg­ulation 2017, NIS has been strategically positioned to combat all cases relating to transnational organized crimes,’’ he said.
According to him, NIS will work with other se­curity agencies like the Police, and INTERPOL to check trans-border crimes, human trafficking and arms smuggling into the country.
In the same vein the service in a bid to keep records of movement of international passengers in line with universal best practices also launched the harmonized departure and arrival cards, a unique security document for the travelling public.
The cards are scanned and stored in data bank and shared with relevant stake holders for identi­fication of record travels and security purpose.
Non-Nigerians are ex­pected to fill both the de­parture and arrival forms while Nigerians are ex­pected to fill only the de­parture cards to replace the cumbersome and mul­tiplicity of forms which hitherto existed.
The issue of border po­rosity has received a major attention with the minis­ter of interior stating his readiness to tackle border porosity. After inspecting three grounded aircraft at the old Kaduna airport, he promised to do everything possible to put them on air to ensure border manage­ment and safety.
“Border management is the responsibility of the Nigeria Immigration Ser­vice and I don’t see how we can be effective in manag­ing borders of about 4,500 kilometers without the use of aircraft. I will personally ensure that these aircraft are back in the air this year,” he said.
The minister stressed that: “without managing our borders well, we will be in trouble because of a lot of cross-border activi­ties in drugs, in arms, in human trafficking and so on”, noting those activities will not make the environ­ment conducive for inves­tors.
Babandede had said that the aircraft will comple­ment human effort and the 100 vehicles availed by the Federal government for patrols on ground, as they will aid long distance patrols as well as serve as good communication fa­cilities to respond to prob­lems as they arise, stressing that all service providers are on ground to ensure everything is amicable.
Also, among the feathers added to the cap of the ser­vice under the current ad­ministration is the inaugu­ration of an ultra-modern passport office complex at Gwagwalada for the FCT, NIS Command.
Gen. Dambazau assured that similar passport of­fices would be inaugurated across the country in the nearest future.
He said that the measure was aimed at reducing the stress and inconveniences faced by applicants who hitherto travelled to Abuja from their various loca­tions for resolution of passport-related issues.
The CG on his part, pledged to ensure im­proved training for pass­port officers to aid better service delivery. He also warned them against cor­ruption and exploitation of passport applicants, in­sisting that culprits would face the full wrath of the law.
Also commendable is the effort of the service to enhance the welfare pack­age of its work¬force as well as boost their produc­tivity and efficiently in ser­vice delivery, by partner­ing the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in the provision of loans for its men and officers to the tune of N59.7m.
Babandede said the scheme will help its of­ficers to be productive as comfort guar¬antees high productivity adding that it will help them to be house owners af¬ter retirement.
The scheme, which has 60 officers as beneficia­ries, had the first batch disbursed to 10 officers in December 22, 2016 to the tune of N9.9 mil¬lion while the second batch of 50 officers and men re¬ceived theirs recently to the tune of N49.7 mil­lion.
The scheme is a part­nership between NIS, its National Housing Fund managers and FCMB de¬signed to leverage on the National Housing Fund contributory pack­age to en¬sure that all participants get decent ac­commodation to increase commitment and dedica­tion from the work¬force.
Babandede, has also flagged-off the e-docu­mentation and unified identity card exercise for officers and men of the service.
The exercise being the first of its kind in the his­tory of the NIS and in line with international best practices is aimed at achieving efficient admin­istrative and policy issues.
The CG explained that the exercise involved the physical capture, verifica­tion, authentication and uploading of the certified documents of the person­nel.
“Let me say that the physical appearance is to eradicate proxy arrange­ments and the need for every physically fit, able officer to appear in per­son and be certified as a bonafide NIS staff,” he said.
There is a groundswell of opinion that the CG is committed towards re po­sitioning the service with modern day technologies, and in doing this, he is obviously guarded by the fact that the objective of all work is to execute re­sults through forethought, planning, intelligence, and honesty of purpose. = The Authority