FROM August 30th-31st, senior officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) held strategic sessions on how to better dispatch their mandate from surveillance of the nation’s borders, to issuing travel documents and other functions while keeping track with President Muhammed Buhari’s Security, Economy and Transparency (SET) initiative.
The service during its Management Retreat focused on Passport administration and process, border management techniques and procedures, visa reforms as well as service delivery and public engagement as well as plans to use technology to ensure transparency in the process.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who graced the session from start to closer in his keynote address titled: You are the Face of the Nation said Government has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to be on top of its game by putting in place a strict implementation process of the Border Management Strategy that was unveiled Friday in order to ensure border safety and security.
According to him, Management Cadre Officers should brainstorm and fashion out means of implementing the reforms being carried out by the Service in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s focus, which is Security, Economy and Transparency (SET).
Aregbesola said,” The primary role of the Immigration Service is the Security of the border and migration management. No unwanted, suspicious and criminal person must be allowed entry into our nation just as we are to prevent the exit from Nigeria of all known domestic real felons and or domestic potential felons from leaving Nigeria to tarnish our image abroad”.
He called on the Nigeria Immigration Service to deliver on its mandate to serve Nigeria with heart and might by taming all threats to internal security thereby ensuring the safety of the citizens.
“Our service must focus on supporting the Federal Government’s drive on ease of doing business. On the flipside, no one should be allowed into Nigeria who should not be within our borders”.
“I must let you know that the security architecture of the nation is built on the network of individuals like you. Don’t ever think that one person is inconsequential. Every person in the immigration service is important. The whole is the sum of the part. If one part is taken away, it cannot be whole again”, he said.
He observed further that Technology and Transparency remain paramount for efficient and effective Border Security Management especially in the contemporary situation where crime and criminality has assumed its complex status.
“All officers of the Service must as a matter of urgency, embrace the digital tradition and be technology/computer compliant, particularly at the senior and management level. Our officers must shun all forms of corruption through openness and transparency in the discharge of their duties”, Aregbesola said.
He also called on participants at the Retreat to debate and agree on the model and period it must take for a Nigerian to apply for and obtain the passport from our system anywhere in the world as swiftly as possible within the minimum human contact.
While responding, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede explained that this retreat is an opportunity to critically examine the journey so far with the view to delivering a robust compass that will guide its activities.
He admitted the numerous challenges eligible passport applicants face as they don’t have appreciable satisfaction in interfacing with our passport window while applying but said the problem will remain if the service is not assisted to solve the problem of booklet scarcity.
On border management technics and procedures, Babandede said the retreat came up with pragmatic standard procedure for border management.
He said, ” Despite the challenges at the border, I will like to thank Mr. President for approving, in council, the e-border program. The program will be implemented in 2 years where the 4,047 kilometres of land borders be monitored real-time.
” It will cover 86 Border Control Post (BCP) comprising of 6Mega Control Posts, 16Medium Control Posts and 64 Mini Control Posts.
“The BCP will be equipped with HD Video surveillance for pedestrian, observable thermal and optical Bi-spectrum for low visibility environment, Unified IP telephony and video conferencing facilities, advanced eLTE Multi-media Wilkie-talkie communication.
” in order to tackle the problem of power generation, especially at remote locations there will be solar grid and D.G hybrid power solution for control posts.
On Visa Reforms, Babandede said the migration world has changed and many countries have turned their Visa administration and issuance into veritable sources of foreign revenue earnings.
Another highlight of the Retreat was the lecture on public service delivery and public engagement on the closing day as delivered by Dutch Organization, Hostmanship, as supported by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.
The conversation revolved around making people feel welcome, ensuring visitors are welcome into the country despite looking at all avenues to ensure they are not in violation of laws of the land.
The presentation given by Mr. Jerome Van Hatton, posited the Housemanship concept preached the oneness of all peoples and how each individual no matter how different he or she seems to be is a citizen of the world via their DNA.
Mr. Van Hatton explained that the concept is also about treating people the way they want to be treated as because of difference in culture, nurturing, mindset and other factors, it’s likely they do not want to be treated as you treat yourself.
Also speaking, Director International Affairs of Repatriation, Ministry of Justice and Security, Ewald Riks said the Dutch will continue to work with Nigeria and partner the country in many areas on migration.