OWERRI- Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo has urged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS ) to commit to strict migration guidelines for intending entrants to the country.
Uzodinma made the call on the occasion of the 60th anniversary ceremony of the NIS organised by its Imo Command, in Owerri, on Tuesday.
The governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, urged the service to be more proactive about issues of illegal migration with a view to preventing movement of unauthorized immigrants.
According to him, illegal migration, if left unchecked, could leave the country welcoming individuals whose motives for entering the country could be dangerous, thus contributing to insecurity.
“A lot of people who enter Nigeria through porous borders have no good intentions for the country and pose serious security threat.
“ You must therefore redouble your efforts in the area of border patrol and an insistence on strict immigration guidelines “, he said.
Delivering a lecturer, Chief Joachim Olumba, a retired Comptroller of Immigration, listed duties performed by the Service to include the attraction of foreign direct investments through the administration of the Nigerian Visa Policy as well as air border control among others.
He spoke on the theme: “ Migration Management in Nigeria, Its Essence and Implication
,for National Growth and Development “.
He congratulated the NIS on another successful anniversary adding that it has been a story of many breakthroughs despite challenges
Earlier in an address, the command’s Comptroller, Mrs Nkechi Ezugwu, thanked the governor for providing the enabling environment for the activities of the Service in Imo and promised to work collaterally with relevant stakeholders in line with the mandate of the Service.
Also speaking, the Assistant Comptroller-General in charge of Zone “E”, Mrs Angela Okoye, commended men and officers of the Command for their patriotic sacrifices and assured them that the management of the Service will continue to restructure for improved services and welfare of officers.
A former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, urged the NIS to continue to build on their successes with a renewed commitment to national security.
The event was attended by all Heads of military and paramilitary outfits in Imo as well as religious leaders and traditional rulers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Aug. 1, 1963, Immigration Department came of age when it was formally established by an Act of Parliament, Cap I71, Laws of the Federation Nigeria.
The head of the department became known as the Director of Immigration.
The Immigration Department, as it was known then, was entrusted with the core immigration duties under the headship of the Chief Federal Immigration Officer (CFIO) and the first to sit on that chair was Mr E.H. Harrison.
The department in its emergent stages inherited the Immigration Ordinance of 1958 for its operation.
Following some structural reforms and Government white paper on Oct. 1, 1992, the designation of “Director of Immigration” was changed to “Comptroller General of Immigration Service”, thereby granting the Service a para-military status..
Thus the last Director of Immigration became the first Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI) in the person of CGI Garba Abbas.
Subsequently, the Service has come a long way in its march towards reformation and restructuring to be better positioned for the implementation of modern migration management.
This period saw changes in the organizational and operational structure of the Service and which were inevitable towards accommodating the added responsibilities as well as emerging regional and sub-regional political alignments.
These included the introduction of the ECOWAS and African Affairs division, Aliens Control and Border Patrol Management and such other added responsibilities for the Service.
Furthermore, in 1988, the Service was saddled with the responsibility for the issuance of all Nigerian travel documents which included the Nigeria Passports. (NAN)