The stakeholders forum on Border Management in a group photograph with representatives of agencies in Seme border post during their visit on Thursday.
The Stakeholders Forum on Border Management on Thursday met with different agencies operating at Seme Border posts with the aim of ending the influx of illegal immigrants in Nigeria communities.
Speaking during the working visit of the forum, Mrs Wuraola Adepoju, the acting Comptoller-General of the Immigration Service (CGIS), said that the country was facing security challenges due to influx of illegal immigrants.
Adepoju, who is the Chairman of the forum was represented by Mr George Didel, the Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) during the visit.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Stakeholders Forum on Border Management is chaired by the NIS with the inclusion of critical and relevant stakeholders in border operations.
It is one of the thematic groups in the four levels of coordination of the Migration Governance Structure aimed at effectively combating trans-national organised crimes, especially Trafficking-in-Persons (TiPs) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOMs) around Nigeria’s borders.
Adepoju said: “We are all aware that the country is facing a lot of challenges today, ranging from irregular migration to smuggling of immigrants, gun running and militancy.
“All these are due to migration across our borders and that is why we are here to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the operations at our land border posts.
“This is with a view to ascertaining the challenges associated with combating trans-national organised crimes to facilitate necessary interventions.
“We will also visit Idi-Iroko as part of our land borders to carry out this assignment.”
The chairman stated that part of their task was to know some of the challenges faced by border management agencies and how they can be surpassed so as to advise government appropriately.
“Also, part of our task is to see how the ECOWAS protocol is being implemented, challenges and issues that may have come up in the implementation of the protocol.
“Lastly, the committee wants to interact with border communities on how they can assist government to have effective border security and discuss the issues of SOMs and TIPs which have become a very serious scourge in Nigeria today,” she said.
She urged agencies at the border posts to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen their relationships and build new bonds for effective border management.
Also, Mr Joseph Gbenu, the Chairman, Badagry West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), urged the border stakeholders’ forum to enlist more residents of the council in the immigration service.
According to him, many residents of different communities within the area are being harassed along the corridor.
“Most of the time, officers and men of the service harass our people because they think that they are illegal immigrants from Benin Republic.
“I believe if we have more residents in the service, this harassment will reduce,” Gbenu said.
On his part, Mr Timi Bomodi, the Controller, Seme Border Command, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), noted that at the Seme Border post, the agencies had always collaborated with each other with regard to their fields of responsibilities.
Bomodi, who is also the Chairman of Joint Border Operations, said that their collaboration was to ensure that whatever gap that existed are closed.
He said that to check the influx of illegal cross-border immigrants, data was very essential, adding that its use would help to anticipate challenges and focus attention on high-risk areas.
In his earlier remarks, Comptroller Tanko Audu, the Controller, NIS, Seme Border Command, said the border operations of the Command in combating TiPs and SOMs had been effective with use of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).
“The world over, issues of border security and management are major socio-political phenomena in the global space and are currently redefining security, economic and socio-political realities of many countries.
“But the issue of trans-national crimes, the NIS cannot do alone. There is need for an improved and sustained robust synergy by all stakeholders.
“The challenges faced will be enumerated in due time as the meeting progresses and as we take a tour of our facilities and operational areas.
“It is our hope that this event will be filled with positive impact as we take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen our relationship and build new bond for effective border management,” Audu said.
The Stakeholders’ Forum is made up of agencies such as the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of Security Service (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Port Health Service (PHS).
Some other agencies such as the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) are also members of the forum.
Other members are the Network Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Boundary Commission and the border communities amongst others.
The Forum were taken round the facility and border operation areas at the sea side where there was a very dangerous sea encroachment affecting the Immigration/Customs Barracks.
It is believed that the sea encroachment will wash up the barracks in less than two years, if nothing is done to combat it.