Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has advised all regular and irregular migrants resident in the state to come out and participate in the ongoing Migrant e-Registration to regularise their stay in the country.
NIS Controller, Benue State Command, Mr Adams Oko-Jaja, who gave the advice during the flag off of the Migrant e-Registration programme, urged all migrants above the age of 18 to take advantage of the six months amnesty period proclaimed by President Muhammadu Buhari to register.
He explained that the Migrant e-Registration is a statutory provision of the Nigeria Immigration Act of 2015 and Regulation of 2017, which require the Nigeria Immigration Service to obtain and maintain a register of all immigrants of 18 years of age and above who intend to reside in Nigeria beyond 90 days.
“This registration will be continuous and routine. It is meant to provide a credible, reliable and comprehensive database of all foreigners resident in Nigeria at any given time,” Oko-Jaja said.
“It is envisioned that this tool will be deployed to manage security and economic challenges associated with global migration in the most transparent manner. The database will be so networked as a single platform in which authorised agencies and organisations can have access as they may have needs.”
Oko-Jaja, who disclosed that the grace period given by the President from July 12 is expected to expire on January 11, 2020, warned that any irregular migrant who has not regularized his or her papers at the expiration of the amnesty period would face prosecution and eventual repatriation.
“It is important to give notice to all irregular migrants that at the expiration of the amnesty those who have not regularised their stay will be liable to prosecution and eventual repatriation,” the state Controller said.
“Therefore, all irregular migrants should use this window to formalise their stay in Nigeria without any form of penalty. For avoidance of doubt, a jail term of three years or a fine of N500,000 or both is prescribed where conviction is obtained for violation of the statute.
He thanked the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, for his support and encouragement to the Service in the Benue, reiterating the commitment of the NIS to the security and economic well being of Benue State in particular and the country at large.
Flagging off the exercise, Governor Samuel Ortom, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Anthony Ijohor, SAN, enjoined all foreigners resident in the state to take the opportunity to regularise their stay, warning that anyone caught without papers would be sanctioned.