The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babanded has dropped a hint about move being made to stop foreigners coming into Nigeria to take control of businesses and jobs meant for the citizens of the country.
Speaking to newsmen today, August 27 shortly after a private audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential villa, Abuja, the Immigration boss said that this was an additional assignment handed to him by the President.
“Mr. President is always concerned about what we, the security people can do to make Nigeria safer, greater and more attractive.
“As we are all aware, NIS is a security agency that is responsible for borders.
“At the same time, it is an agency that contributes to the ease of doing business. So, today, I have been able to brief Mr. President on what we are doing and he has given me additional responsibilities on what we can do to make this country safer and better.
“Nigerians should be happier that the borders will be safer now than before and efforts will be made to make sure there are no counter-crossing across our borders.
“All persons who are in our country, who are non-Nigerians, we must monitor to see what they are doing what are of benefit to this country.
“As you are aware, each person enters Nigeria with a condition, whether to do a business or to establish a business, but not to take the business of Nigerians.
“So, Mr. President has tasked us to make sure we look at this issue deeply to make sure that Nigerian labour is protected; Nigerian economy is protected, not be taken away by foreigners who just come to do business and take away the money and not to invest.”
On the specific issue of the Chinese presence in Nigerian markets, Babandede described it as “even the biggest issue. Even last Monday, I raised this issue in Kano where they are into retail business in textile shops and other businesses.
“We need to be more patriotic. A situation where citizens give protection
to Chinese and allow them into retail businesses is a crime, a serious one for that matter.”
Speaking on the issue of ECOWAS protocols on free movement of African citizens, the Immigration boss said that he had already notified his officers that every member of the ECOWAS must register after staying in the country for 80 days.
“ECOWAS protocols stipulates that you must follow proper routes and you must register and must have valid passport. It is not about unregulated movements.
“We have prosecuted so many people, jailing them two and three years on
illegal ECOWAS movements.”
Babandede said that he would not reveal some of the new tasks President Buhari handed to him to accomplish towards ensuring adequate security for the country, “but we will do our best to keep Nigeria safer through effective border management and control, and after entry to control so that we can control those who enter our territory without doing something else, which they have not agreed to do when they applied for visas.”
Babandede acknowledged the fact that situations in the borders are contributing to insecurity in the country, “especially our borders with Niger, Benin and Cameroun. It has become imperative to man our borders more effectively.”