President Muhammadu Buhari has granted a six-month amnesty period to irregular migrants in the country to submit themselves to the Migrant e-Registration Centre of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for registration.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at the official commissioning of the migrant e-registration centre at the NIS Headquarters, Buhari said the six months period for registration of irregular migrants would be at no cost or penalty.
He added that the registration would provide sufficient data to account for the total number of migrants residing in Nigeria.
“The Migrant e-Registration Centre after commissioning will flag off the e-registration of all migrants in Nigeria to aid internal monitoring and integration. I, therefore, wish to assure the international community that we are committed to promoting the fundamental human rights of migrants. However, we have the responsibility to know who lives among us and what he does.
“It is on this note therefore that I am declaring a six-month amnesty period for irregular migrants already in the country to submit themselves to the NIS for the purpose of this registration which will be carried out without any payment or penalties,” he said.
Buhari said the registration was significant for robust national security and development, adding that the Passport Application Data Processing Centre (PADPC) would provide improved issuance of passport, eliminate touting and curb corruption.
Also speaking, the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mohammad Babandede, said the registration was compulsory for every immigrant who has stayed in Nigeria for more than three months.
Babandede disclosed that the passport processing centre could be presented in any part of the world as a symbol of ease of doing business.
On her part, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, stated that anyone who fails to register within the six months grace period would be considered an illegal immigrant.