Owerri – The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says that the new National Border Management Strategy (NBMS) will enhance national security, contribute to national economic development and promote social harmony.
Its Comptroller General, Muhammed Babandede, said this at a “Sensitization Workshop for Stakeholders on the Nigeria Immigration Service National Border Management Strategy” held in Owerri on Friday.
The Comptroller General was represented by the Assistant Comptroller General of NIS in charge of Training and Staff Development, NIS, Abuja, Mrs Cecilia Adeuyi.
He said the objectives would be achieved through deployment of technology and human capacity as well as implementation of integrated border management concept.
Babanded said the workshop was to articulate a renewed five-year vision and institutional approach to border management in Nigeria within the scope of NIS as the lead agency for border management in the country, while taking into consideration the need for inter-agency collaboration.
He said the strategy would be limited to the movement of persons and would use an extended concept of border management that would include virtual borders through visa regimes, advance passenger information and related approaches as well as aspects of internal management of migration for non-nationals already in the country.
Babaded said the NIS had the mandate to protect national borders by maximazing the positive impacts of migration and the negative aspects, adding that securing national borders should be a joint task and a task that must be achieved by all.
According to him, the decision to undertake a strategic review and renewal of national border management strategy is motivated by major challenges in migration dynamics in the country and resolution of conflict tensions among bordering states.
Mrs Ukamaka Osigwe, the National Programme Officer, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) who represented the Chief of Mission of IOM, Mr Frantz Celistin, said the organisation had partnered the NIS in the past years in the areas of migration governance, Data and Policy, IBM-MIDAS installations and capacity building.
Celistin said that the decision to undertake a review and renewal of national border management strategy by the NIS came at a good time.
He said it showed the willingness and commitment of the government to, in a strategic manner, respond to the current challenges relating to migration and border management at the national, regional and global levels.
According to the IOM boss, the rationale behind the development of the strategy is to articulate a renewed vision and approach to border management in Nigeria within the scope of the duties of the lead agency for border management, the NIS.
Celistin said he made the observation taking into consideration the responsibilities of other Nigerian government agencies responsible for other aspects of border management and the need for inter-agency collaboration.
He said the strategy took into consideration regional, continental and international aspects of migration management that directly affected Nigeria’s approach to border management.
Celistin said the strategic development process was facilitated and sponsored by the International Organiastion for Migration Nigeria within the framework of the “European Union (EU)- IOM Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria and funded by the EU.
“The ultimate benefits of the strategy is tied to its effective implementation, hence the call for all statekeholders to carry out required actions for its implementation.
“To ensure this is done, the NIS has embarked on a zonal sensitisation programme for all stakeholders and we are here in Owerri to raise awareness amongst the stakeholders in the south east geo-political zone.
“There is need for monitoring and evaluation through regular assessment of the objectives set out for each major operational area and upon the near completion of the five-year timeline to conduct a summative evaluation aimed at gaining perspective on overall progress and the strengths and weakness of the plan itself,” he said.
Celistin pledged continued partnership of the organisation with the NIS through the provision of the required assistance.
Earlier, the Comptroller of NIS in Imo, Mr David Ringshun, said the document was very important as it would communicate the plans and strategies that NIS, as the lead agency, intended to employ in managing Nigeria’s vast territoral borders.
He said the document was also a working plan for the protection of Nigerian borders both land, sea and air.
Ringshun expressed appreciation to the Comptroller General of NIS for the choice of Owerri as the centre of the programme in South east.
Mr Macpherson Nwachukwu, the Special Adviser to the Imo Governor on Intelligence, who represented the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, described the workshop as timely considering the challenges of security in the country and the world over.
He said that NIS could not achieve much without other stakeholders, hence, the workshop, adding that the problem of irregular immigration could only be stopped through the current move by the agency.
Nwachukwu said the state government was ever ready to partner with the service through the provision of condusive environment.
Some stateholders commended the NIS for the workshop, describing it as an eye-opener.
They harped on the need for regular awareness creation among Nigerians on the dangers of irregular migration.
Mr Nkemdirim Okwaranozie, the Deputy Director, National Population Commission, urged NIS to devise more ways of awareness creation so that people, especially those in the rural areas, could be reached to enable them make informed decision before travelling outside the country.
He advised those who intended to travel to use regular means as the disadvantages of irregular travel means far outweighed the advantages.
NAN reports stakeholders, who attended the progrmme, included the Police, DSS, Prisons (Correctional Service), NDLEA and the media.
The highpoint of the programme was the unveiling of the 149-page book titled Nigeria Immigration Service National Border Management Strategy: 2019-2030.