Nigeria Repatriates 45 Illegal Immigrants From Abia State

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) in Abia has reportedly repatriated 45 illegal immigrants arrested from several parts of the state.

fgThis was made known to newsmen by the controller of NIS in Abia state, Mrs Anthonia Okpara, while speaking at a conference held in the state, adding that most of the illegal immigrants came from Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Mali.

Mrs Okpara explained that out of 70 immigrants who were recently arrested in a series of raids carried out in towns and cities by the service, 45 of them did not possess valid documents. These immigrants she said, were arrested in Aba, Ohafia, Umuahia and the cattle market in Umunneochi Local Government Area of the state.

She described the raids as part of security measures by the service to keep the state safe, adding that it is a necessary exercise that would be carried out regularly by the NIS.

She also pointed out that these arrests were carried out because the ECOWAS Protocol permitted free movement of citizens of member states within the sub-region for a period of 90 days only, but these protocols are being breached by many immigrants in the state, adding that residents should be warned that they are not allowed to indiscriminately hire immigrants whose residency status have not been established for domestic and security jobs.

“An immigrant must come with travel documents through a recognised border and will be given a valid visitor’s card for 90 days which will enable him to visit the state.

“They are not allowed to take any form of employment and where they should, they must be given a resident card to enable them to work and reside in Abia as legal immigrants,’’ she said.

Okpara also explained that even though no border towns exist in Abia, the NIS has initiated proactive measures in partnership with other security agencies and state government to keep illegal immigrants in check, adding that officers of the service have been positioned in strategic areas of the state, including car parks to search vehicles coming into the state.

“The raid is not a fire brigade approach, we are alive to our responsibilities and we are proactive in making sure that we rid the state of illegal immigrants,’’ she said.

The deportees who were aged within 15 – 50years are said to thrive on the proceeds they get from doing menial jobs like shoe mending. They were taken off the NIS premises and out of the state on Saturday around 7:35 a.m.

It would be recalled that less than 2 weeks ago, the National Immigration Service in Adamawa state also repatriated 45 illegal immigrants from Yola.