The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Niger Delta Ministry are exploring avenues for effective partnership to monitor the creeks as well as combat threats in the region.
This is just as the NIS has called on the Niger Delta Ministry to support it in developing the Marine Unit of the Service to be fully operational by providing the required patrol boats and strengthening the capacity of officers.
The Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI) Muhammad Babandede, made this known when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uganu Usani paid him a visit at the Nigeria Immigration Service, Headquarters, Abuja.
Babandede during the interaction lamented the dearth of patrol boats to effectively monitor the creeks and rivers in the Niger Delta Area of the Country.
He said, “in view of the current threat to security in the area and the availability of arms in the hands of unauthorized persons, it has become inevitable for the NIS and the Ministry to work together to bring the situation under control.”
He told the Minister that the ministry could support by providing patrol boats to the NIS and strengthening the capacity of officers in that region through regular training and retraining
The Immigration boss also decried the abuse of the expatriate quota regime by companies and expatriates that do business in the Niger Delta area.
According to him one of such abuses is the failure to implement the understudy policy of Government which is essentially aimed at technology transfer and creating job opportunities for the Nigerian youths.
The understudy clause in the expatriate policy provides for two Nigerians to understudy an expatriate. The objective is to promote a seamless transfer of technology to Nigerians. However, these companies fail to have the understudies and thereby denying Nigerians of employment they are qualified for. He added that “were the companies to train the understudies as stipulated we would have created employment for people of that region.”
He said as a solution to this abuse, the NIS is working with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) to ensure that only qualified expatriate engineers work in Nigeria while the NIS is also determined to enforce the understudy policy in order to create jobs for Nigerians.
Babandede also used the opportunity of the visit to call on the Niger Delta militants not to allow any individual or groups to use them to destroy the Country’s infrastructure but to support the Government which is determined to bring real change to the area and the country.
Earlier, the Hon. Minister had told the CGI that he was on an exploratory visit to find out ways his Ministry will collaborate with the NIS to deal with the issue of insecurity in the Niger Delta.
He said that considering the place of NIS in migration and economic activities there are lots of things the two organs of Government can do to strengthen the fight against piracy and insurgency.
Both senior Government officials agreed to meet regularly to effect the collaboration in areas of mutual interest.