Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday flagged off the electronic registration of non-Nigerian residents in the state, describing the exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as a key step in national security and socioeconomic development.
The programme, which is beginning in eight Nigerian states, would see NIS officials documenting all non-Nigerians living in the country as part of the larger efforts to keep accurate data and curb crimes in the age of transnational terrorism and other security threats.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, AbdulRazaq said the initiative offers an opportunity for effective national security and socioeconomic planning, congratulating the NIS for the foresight.
“This is another milestone in our collective efforts to secure our country in this age of transnational terrorism and other crimes that threaten our national security. But I also see it as an opportunity to properly document people who live within our borders for effective planning, development and mutually beneficial collaborations,” he said.
“The programme is to ensure proper registration of migrant in the country and targeted at generating a robust personal profile and electronic biometric data base of all foreigners that intend to stay in Nigeria beyond the period of 90 days.
“It is a thing of pride to us that Kwara State is among the eight selected states to pilot this noble scheme. I therefore call on all migrants in Kwara State to key into this programme by immediately submitting themselves at the Nigeria Immigration Service office in Ilorin, the State Capital, and all designated centres for proper documentation and registration. This will help the State to ascertain identities of migrants and what they do. It will also create a strong synergy with migrants who are in to legal businesses.”
He pledged government’s support for the exercise and urged officers doing the capturing to ensure it is done professionally and in the overall interest of the country.
The state Comptroller of the service, Edith Onyemenam, said the registration is to capture every migrant above 18 years and who is staying beyond 90 days in Nigeria.
“Basic demographic and biometric details are taken and stored in our system after which such person is given migrant identification number (MIN). The Federal Government has graciously granted six months amnesty period to migrants with which they can be registered irrespective of their immigration status and failure to comply with amount to a violation of the Nigerian immigration laws,” she said.
She urged sister security agencies to support the NIS in the exercise, calling on Nigerians to ensure that foreigners feel welcome in Nigeria.