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Illegal migrants have become a challenge to cross border trade – Immigration

By Godwin Oritse

The Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, has said that the menace of illegal migrants in Nigeria has become a major challenge obstructing cross border trade at the Seme border point.

File: In this image released by the US Navy, migrants are gathered on the deck of a Malta Armed Forced ship as they depart the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio on October 17, 2013. The San Antonio rescued 128 men adrift from an inflatable raft that was threatening to capsize in rough seas in the Mediterraneanan on October 16 after responding to a call by the Maltese Government. “AFP PHOTO

Speaking exclusively to  Vanguard Maritime Report  on the sideline of the just concluded, Borderless Alliance workshop on dissemination and launch of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, held in Lagos, a Chief Superintendent of Immigration, Iyere Inegbidion, said that the agency was co-opted into the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the federal government with a view to facilitating trade at the border posts across the country.

Borderless Alliance is a trade facilitation initiative led by the private sector to improve trading activities across border points in the West African Sub-region.

Inegbidion also said that the agency has instruction to carry out its duties without delay at the border.

He explained that trailers conveying goods from other countries are supposed to come with a driver and a conductor, but they come in with about eight or more people.

“Through screening, we get to know that these people are foreigners without travel documents” he added.

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Inegbidion also said that the situation of having to deal with people without travel documents attract more time in dealing with traders across the border.

He said, “Instead of a driver to spend less than five minutes, with what we have seen, in trying to identify these people, it takes more time to identify and screen these people to know who they are and where they are coming from.

“Statutorily, the driver is allowed to come in through the border with only one conductor and not with foreigners without travel documents.

“That is a major challenge we are facing at the Seme border post because unscrupulous elements now use this means to move illegal migrants into the country and this is unacceptable to us.

“We commend the effort of the management of Borderless Alliance and we will continue to work with them to facilitate trade across our border posts including Seme border.”

He also disclosed that some of these drivers are taking advantage of the Borderless Alliance to perpetuate all kinds of criminal acts.

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