Nigeria Immigration Service begins e-registration of Africans
By SAM ANOKAM
Saturday, December 04, 2010
The Nigeria Immigration Service has flagged off e-registration of ECOWAS and African nationals residing and working in Lagos State. The event, which took place at the Ikeja Zonal Headquarters of Nigeria Immigration Service, witnessed a large turn-out of African nationals as well as traditional rulers and local government chairmen, among other personalities.
Addressing the gathering, the Comptroller of Immigration, Lagos State Command, Mr. Sulaimon Abbas Ahmed assured that the exercise, which would be taking place in all the local government areas, is not for repatriation or punishment but to enable the Federal Government to have accurate data of foreigners in Nigeria.
?The biometric registration is also a strategy by the government at improving internal security through migration management, which would be beneficial to everyone. Already data of non-Africans have already been captured in the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). The registration is free.?
In addition, the Assistant Comptroller General/Zonal Coordinator, Zone A, Lagos, John Adike, explained that the registration method is a clear migration from the present analogue to digital system of handling migration jobs in consonance with the best international standards and practice.
?The registration card will be issued to all immigrants, after meeting all requirements and subsequently acquired by our digital cameras. This is done to decentralize, ease and encourage the affected persons to comply. The said card is neither a resident permit, nor meant for verification of immigration status of the holders rather, it is purely a registration card meant for ease of identification and monitoring.?
It is expected that the e-registration initiative will greatly improve the performance of Immigration ECOWAS officers in the control and monitoring of immigrants some of whom, often times, are implicated in violent crimes and religious fundamentalism in some parts of the country.
Representative of the Lagos state government, Commissioner of Science and Technology, Dr. Quadri Obafemi Hamzat guaranteed the support of the state government while the Consular General, Ghana, Sylvester Parker Alorte urged African nationals to take the exercise seriously as it was to their advantage and interest.