Abuja – Mr David Parradang, the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, on Thursday in Abuja said 7,390 Nigerians were repatriated from foreign countries in 2013.
Parradang made this known when he fielded questions from journalists at the Immigration headquarters in Abuja.
He said that government carried out the repatriation because many Nigerians abroad could not make ends meet and had no source of income which made living difficult while others were in countries being ravaged by conflicts.
He said that due to these difficulties, the service succeeded in preventing 106,739 Nigerians travelling out the country in 2013 in search of the proverbial “greener pastures abroad”.
He said that in the same year the service also denied some 150, 840 foreigners entry into the country because they did not meet necessary requirements for entry into the country.
The comptroller-general said that to account for the presence and activities of immigrants in the country, the service had introduced a robust mechanism for internal monitoring and control of immigrants.
“We have introduced a new Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), which has enhanced security features to help us track all foreigners who move in and out of the country.
“Every foreigner must have this card if he/she wants to be in Nigeria as it would enable us know where they are and what they are doing at all times,” he said.
He noted that in an effort to address the country’s porous borders, the service was introducing a special border patrol corps.
The Immigration service boss said the patrol corps was made up of 1000 immigration officers who had been specially trained and equipped with the right regimentation and technology to ensure better border patrol management and policing.
Parradang said that the service had continued to receive cooperation from security agencies including the military in an effort to get rid of illegal immigrants who were a security risk to the country.
“We need to secure our borders and we are working to achieve it. We have the ideas and the desire, we know what to do and we are currently focusing on that,” he added.
Parradang said that although 37 officers had lost their lives due to insurgency activities in various parts of the country, the service would continue to work closely with other agencies to end the attacks.
He noted that the service had a zero tolerance for corruption and emphasised that officers who receive bribe in line of duty would be relieved of their jobs.
He denied some media reports that there had been 100 per cent increase in passport fees.
The comptroller-general said that the service had only increased the number of pages on the passport booklet to accommodate persons who travel often. (NAN)