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The Federal Government Friday, handed down a six-month ultimatum to migrants across the country, to register.
The e-registration is for aliens, who have spent a period exceeding ninety days in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari announced the period of “amnesty” for the free registration at the commissioning of the Migrant e-Registration,
and Passport Application Processing Centre, at the Nigeria Immigration Service’s headquarters in Abuja.
The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said that the establishment of the centres, would enhance national security, while ensuring national development
The migrants’ e-registration will enable government access to statistics of migrants across the country, even as the Passport Application Processing Centre, aims to harness accurate data of citizens.
“I am delighted to witness this occasion of the commissioning of the Migrant e-Registration and Passport Application Processing Centre, established by the Nigeria Immigration Service. These centres are significant to our drive for robust internal security and national development”, Buhari said.
According to him: “Today’ event reflects Government’s deliberate commitment to harnessing accurate data of its citizens and statistics of migrants especially those who wish to stay beyond 90 days within the shores of Nigeria.
“While the Migrant e-Registration Centre will collate and store data of non-Nigerians within our shore, the Passport Application Processing Centre on the other hand will provide improved issuance of passport and eliminate touting as well as corruption in line with this Government’s Policy on Ease of Doing Business. Thus, promoting transparency and efficiency in service delivery.
“The Migrant e-Registration Centre after commissioning will flag off the e-registration of all migrants in Nigeria to aid internal monitoring and integration. I therefore wish to assure the International Community that we are committed to promoting the fundamental human rights of migrants. However, we have the responsibility to know who lives among us and what he does,” he said.
“It is on this note therefore that I am declaring a six-month amnesty period for irregular migrants already in the country to submit themselves to the Nigeria Immigration Service for the purpose of this registration which will be carried out without any payment or penalties”.
He went further to note that efforts were being intensified at enhancing the country’s identity management, with the approval of a comprehensive passport reform.
“This administration has approved a comprehensive Passport Reform aimed at enhancing the country’s identity management among other things. Accordingly, in line with our administration’s commitment to Local Content Act, I have directed that the production of passport be domesticated in Nigeria to build capacity of indigenous firms and enable seamless service delivery. This must be done with care so that the process is not interrupted
“I am happy to note the progress being made in the successful integration of data between the Nigeria Immigration Service and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) particularly as it was done in the spirit of achieving one data for each Nigerian. This integration of data we hope will be achieved in the registration of migrants. Other Ministries, Departments and Agencies are therefore enjoined to emulate this effective collaboration as away forward towards nation building”.
He added that: “The Federal Government under my watch will continue to support MDAs that have programs and projects that will add value to governance and enhance national security. Therefore, I see these two major projects as laudable, timely and in synergy with the aspirations of this administration”.
Also speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, warned that migrants who did not take advantage of the grace period to register, may be considered enemies of the state.
In his welcome address, Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Mohammed Babandede, disclosed that the commissioning of the centres signalled the commencement of harnessing data of citizens and migrants alike, for proper monitoring and tracking.
“Today’s occasion further expresses our commitment to harnessing
accurate data of Nigerians and migrants alike. The commissioning of
the Migrant e-Registration Centre is significant as it kick-starts
the e-Registration of all migrants in Nigeria. I am glad to state that
the migrant registration, like the passport, will be linked with
National Identity Ecosystem to generate a unique number that will
eventually connect to all identity system in Nigeria. We are
actualizing the dream to this administration of one-man-one identity.
“The immigration Regulation 2017, under Section 22, sub sections 1 and 2 provides that “The Service shall maintain a Registry of Immigrants” and ‘That a register of all Immigrants shall be kept in the registry containing such information and particulars of an Immigrant as the Comptroller-General may from time to time direct.’ It is on this basis that I directed the register to be in an e-form.
“The Nigeria immigration Service will be the greatest beneficiary of the Presidential directive to domesticate production of our e-passport with Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting Company. Passport booklet scarcity is a major problem in passport administration. May I use this forum to call on all the actors in the transition, including the Ministry of interior, to ensure the transition is smooth to avoid disrupting our operation. The Nigerian e-Passport was introduced in 2007 making Niger one of the very few countries to adopt the technology and the security features recommended by ICAO,” Babandede said.
According to him, some of the features are mandatory, “and the individual document issuers adopt some features that are considered important in their national lives.
“The Nigerian passport does not only meet the recommendation, but exceeds it. Some of these features are overt while others are covert”.
Some of the features of the new passport include: Security paper with security thread, Guilloche features, Tactile features, The multiple laser Image with holder’s image and date of birth, among others.
Stella Enenche, Abuja