Nigeria Immigration Service has deployed a new border management security system in four airports across the country to monitor the newly introduced visa on arrival policy for citizens of Aftican nations.
This followed the federal government’s non-recognition of the position of the National Assembly as it finally commenced the implementation of the policy on January 1, 2020.
The airports are; Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport.
ROYAL NEWS reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on December 11, 2018 at the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa, in Cairo, Egypt, announced the visa-on-arrival policy for Africans.
Buhari said: “We in Nigeria have already taken the strategic decision to bring down barriers that have hindered the free movement of our people within the continent by introducing the issuance of visa at the point of entry into Nigeria to all persons holding passports of African countries with effect from January 2020.”
But, the announcement was greeted with criticisms by many Nigerians who believe the policy might worsen the security challenges facing the country.
The Senate also on December 17, 2019 summoned the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbosola, and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, to brief the them on the policy.
The resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by the Senator representing Ekiti North, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, when he drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the executive did not carry the legislature along before coming up with the policy. Adetunmbi is also the chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning.
Adetunmbi, in his lead debate, argued that the executive did not seek necessary amendments to extant laws by the National Assembly before the policy would become operational.
The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, in his contribution, had said Nigerians were worried about the policy because of a spate of insecurity in the country caused by some foreigners coming in.
“We want to make sure that we take care of our citizens before we start taking care of the whole Africa,” he added.
Senator Gabriel Suswam also said that since the President made a policy statement “it is now incumbent on him as Mr President to also direct the necessary authorities to bring the Immigration Act for us to amend.”
On his part, Senator Abba Moro, who is a former Minister of Interior, said when international agreements were entered into by Nigeria, they should be properly domesticated to give them a bite of legality and legitimacy.
Meanwhile, Senator Jibrin Barau has called on the National Assembly to provide legal backing to the policy, adding that the visa-on-arrival policy is being practised in developed countries and that it could open a country’s economy to emerging markets and investment opportunities.
In his remarks after the debate, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, called on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to forward all treaties and agreements entered into by the Federal Government to the National Assembly for ratification.
Lawan thereafter threw the matter up for vote and a majority of the senators voted against the policy.
But findings showed that the immigration service had begun the implementation of the policy.
It was further learnt that a border management technology known as the Migration Information Data Analysis System had been activated at all the international airports before the commencement of the policy.
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