BENIN CITY-Determined to boost security in Nigeria the Edo State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service yesterday begun a clamp down on illegal migrants arresting over 400 suspects in raids.
Three officials of the service were wounded and the back windshields of some of their operational vehicles shattered during the raids.
The Comptroller, Immigration Service, Edo Command Mr David Idi said the aim of the ongoing mop up of illegal migrants is to curb security threats they posed to Edo State and Nigeria.
He stated further that the clamp down also became necessary as intelligent reports indicated that Edo State hosts large number of illegal migrants.
Comptroller Idi stated this while parading the undocumented foreigners before newsmen at the state command headquarters of immigration service in Benin City, yesterday.
“See them over 400, no papers, if they commit crime how do you trace them.
“Security reports available to us indicated that many of them are in Edo State and they come in without documents and they come in through illegal routes.
“We are just carrying out our mandate, to control entry and exit of foreigners into the country.
“There are specific laws and specified how they should come in and our laws say they should come in with proper travel documents and they should come in through approved entry points.
“They do not also have visible livelihood”. Mr Idi stated.
He stated that the suspects would be screened as those found to be Nigerians or foreigners with proper travel documents would be released to go home.
“We will screen them, those who are foreigners without proper travel documents would be eased out. We will take them back to their country.
“We all know the general security situation in this country. If we do not mop and ease them away they will continue to constitute security threats in this country”. Comptroller Idi maintained.
While stating that his officials are professionally trained to identify foreigners, Mr Idi advised would-be migrants to Nigeria to obtain the required documents and take approved routes.
“With the spirit of ECOWAS we are not saying they should not come in, they should come in with approved documents. He added.
Comptroller David Idi however posited that the availability of menial jobs in the state may be a reason why Edo is attractive to the migrator.
The foreigners who claimed to be citizens of Niger Republic, Mali and other Africa countries were picked from different locations in Edo State especially in Benin City.
Mamah Derunukuka, Muhammed Jaba and Abdul Sadi who claimed to be Nigeriens said they came in through Sokoto State with trucks conveying cows from Damagara, in Niger Republic to Nigeria, about seven months ago.
They claimed to have been into menial jobs since they arrived Edo State through the same means they crossed Nigeria-Niger border.
Some of the suspects however claimed to be Nigerians from the northern parts.