The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has reiterated its commitment to checkmating smuggling of migrants toward advancing seamless migration management and enhanced human security in Nigeria.
The NIS Comptroller General, Mrs Caroline Adepoju, said this at a lecture and symposium to mark the Anti-smuggling of Migrants Week on Thursday in Abuja.
Adepoju said smuggling of migrants was a serious transnational crime that posed significant challenges to governments around the world.
She said Nigeria as a country of origin, transit and destination for migrants was particularly affected by the activities of migrant smugglers.
She also said the illicit trade did not only exploit vulnerable individuals and put their lives at risk, and undermined the integrity of the Nigerian borders and national security.
According to her, the NIS is committed to combating the Smuggling of Migrants (SoM) through a multi-faceted approach that involves prevention, enforcement and international cooperation.
“Preventive efforts are crucial in addressing the root causes of migrant smuggling.
“We are working in collaboration with other government agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to educate the public, especially about the risks associated with irregular migration and the legal pathways available for safe and orderly migration.
“We have collaborated with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to reach youths, we have also collaborated with media houses, faith-based organisations, schools, markets and union leaders to sensitise the populace,” she said.
Adepoju stressed that international cooperation played a vital role in addressing the transnational nature of migrant smuggling.
She said the service had engaged in collaborative initiatives with regional and international partners to share information, intelligence and best practices in combating migrant smuggling.
“Building strong partnerships and enhancing cross-border cooperation are essential in disrupting the criminal networks that operate across multiple countries.
“On this occasion of Anti-smuggling of Migrants Week, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of migrants, protecting their well-being and ensuring their safe and orderly migration,” she said.
The NIS boss urged all stakeholders, including government agencies, CSOs, the private sector and the media, to actively contribute to the fight against migrant smuggling.
She maintained that everyone had a role to play in preventing the exploitation of migrants and safeguarding the integrity of the Nigerian borders.
“Let us stand together in solidarity to uphold the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their migration status,” she said.