The Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, yesterday stated that the Federal Government has identified 1,497 illegal routes used by illegal immigrants to gain entry into the nation.
Mr. Moro said the illegal routes had made it very difficult for the federal government to effectively secure its international borders.
He said the government was concerned about the nation’s porous borders, especially when some of the illegal immigrants had been allegedly playing active roles in the security challenges facing the country.
“There is no doubt that in any country, foreigners come in. There is no exception to that but when criminally-minded foreigners come into the country with legitimate papers, without proper travel documents, it becomes a concern for the government.
“Moreso, when these foreigners are alleged to be part of insecurity by participating in suicide bombings and some of the conflicts that we have on our hands, certainly it is a serious concern for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is as a result of this concern that the Federal Government has started to increase attention to addressing this border porosity.” Mr. Moro stated.
“At the moment we are at the drawing board, so without prejudice to when this issue will come to the Federal Executive Council, costing them for example, most of our plazas Seme borders for instance are located in Republic of Benin and so enforcement becomes a problem. For instance if there is a breach of our law in Seme border, we will be unable to enforce Nigerian laws because that part of land is in the Republic of Benin. So we are thinking of placing our plazas in our territories so we can tackle any breach,” Moro added.
Apart from building watch posts, Moro said the government would introduce electronic components to the surveillance of the Nigerian borders with a central post in Abuja or any part of the country.
The Minister reiterated government’s resolve to capture the biometric data of all persons entering and leaving Nigeria.
“This is the primary concern for Nigeria, this is a base that Nigeria does not at the moment have comprehensively and this is what we are pursuing vigorously”
He added that the government was entering a partnership with Galaxy Backbone, which is the major platform for capturing this data.
“We are presently partnering with Galaxy Backbone, it is the major platform for capturing this data and of course the national identity commission is in an aggressive move to ensure we have adequate data record of all persons that enter and leave Jos and all persons including Nigerians resident in Nigeria. We will get there soon.”