COMPTROLLER General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede says the paramilitary outfit is considering deploying unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAV) also known as drones for effective border management if it is given approval to.
This is just as the Head of Mission, International Organization of Migration (IOM), Mr. Frantz Celestin has said that there is deep inter-agency interface among security agencies, especially at the air borders with the NIS running point stressing that the partnership between both agencies has yielded positive outcomes.
The Comptroller who spoke on the plan for drone usage by the service made this known at the end of a three-day senior management retreat for IOM and NIS officials where he stated that there was a lot of calls for the deployment of drones to join patrols and other technology deployed at the borders.
He said “What we should do better I think is deploy to other technology, during this meeting there is high recommendations that we should use drones, that using aircraft, immigration had experience of passenger look-alike aircraft, it may be misused. People may go for marriage ceremony with it, people may go for burials and use it but if you have an aircraft system that only you can only do patrol with two passengers I think it’s better, no passengers, I think you can use drone that nobody will use it so these are technologies we are set at the command, I hope that this should be accepted by government so the equipment will help human capacity,” he said.
Babandede also said that the service cannot man the vast borders of the country alone and so have invested in Forward Operational Bases (FOB) to patrol border areas that need monitoring
He said,” We cannot man the borders physically but you can see the government investing in Forward Operational Bases (FOB) it within the period of two to three years we have almost 21 operational bases, the idea of forward operational bases is to patrol places where people don’t pass through. We will continue to deploy that; we will continue to have patrol vehicles.
He however said the Service is trying to imbibe an attitudinal change in the way things are done, stressing the reason there are constant training and retraining of officers as well as removal of elements that may not want to comply with the vision of the service
“I said this clearly, we need to empower our men. Books cannot solve problems, machines cannot solve problems but if we empower the men, you train them, you also caution them, because in change the greatest challenges are men. Some will deviate, some will sabotage, some do not have the capacity to continue with the new changes and so we need to develop capacity, we make sure that those who stand by the way who cannot change we remove them, we let people to go to the right places, these are some strategies. It not only about money and it’s not all about technology; it’s about human and material management
The CGI also thanked governments of Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Norway and the European Union that have donated through the IOM to empower the service stating that Nigeria’s border technology is one of the best while calling for more investment,
” Border management equipment we have at our air borders and 26 other locations are one of the best and most sophisticated in the world. We hope government of Nigeria will also further invest in this so we can have in additional location so that we take care of the rest that are not in place
Also speaking on integration of the network among security agencies especially at the airports, Head of mission IOM, Frantz Celestin the border management system is able to not only identify a red flag but has been organized in such a way that specific flags can be directed to appropriate quarters to handle.
Celestin said, “The border management is all encompassing. This approach is a comprehensive approach looking at border security in all agencies related to this It happens to be led by the NIS but the national border security manual that was put in place brings in Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), brings in Department of State Security (DSS), brings in all the agencies relevant to border management
“We are looking at the integrated approach, a secondary inspection system within the Nigerian airport to ensure that the agency of relevance deals with the specific issues. For example, if anyone comes and meets NIS officers and there is a red flag on that person, they go to secondary inspection on that airport there will be a space where there is NDLEA if its drug related, DSS if it is related to security and you find NAPTIP if its relevant to trafficking.
“ You find all the relevant agencies working together in the same space trying to protect Nigerian, so NIS is leading in border management but is working with other relevant security agencies,’ he said.
Highlights of the closing ceremony was the reading of the communiqué signed by the IOM representative and the Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service with a pledge to continuously work together for progress and a Gala Night.