By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—THE Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, yesterday disclosed that in 2016, over 10,000 illegal immigrants from neighbouring African countries were deported from Oyo State alone.
This disclosure was made by the newly-transferred Assistant Comptroller General, Olaseni Lawal at the agency’s South West zonal headquarters.
Lawal, who declared zero tolerance for human trafficking said a lot of human traffickers had been apprehended in recent time adding that many of the rescued children had been reunited with their parents.
“Thousands of illegal immigrants have been repatriated. The human traffickers comprise mainly Nigerians and foreigners,” he said.
According to Lawal, a lot of the rescued children are minors who were lured by unsuspecting relatives for the purpose of using them for child labour within and outside the country.
All the suspects whose cases required further investigation and probable prosecution, he noted, had been transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other related Matters.
He added that the children were rescued during various operations at different locations within the zone by men and officers of the service.
“ By and large, we are not only deporting illegal immigrants, the NIS has registered thousands of foreigners that came from West African countries and had shown interests to stay in the zone.”
Corroborating the comments by his boss, Deputy Comptroller, Aderemi Salawu said between January and December last year, 10,000 illegal immigrants, who are ECOWAS nationals, especially from Togo and Benin had been repatriated.
To get rid of touts that loiter around immigration offices in the zone, Lawal vowed to carry out an exercise across the zone to keep the touts away.
He advised prospective applicants for international passports not to patronise touts.
“We have created VIP waiting sections to accommodate dignitaries, senior citizens and the elderly, who may want to seek the services of the commands under the zone”, he said.