© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
NIGERIA SHUTS BORDERS, AS IMMIGRATION WARNS FOREIGNERS AGAINST VOTING
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the closure of the nation’s land and sea borders ahead of the presidential elections.
According to a statement by the permanent secretary in the ministry of Internal Affairs, Abubakar Magali, the closure will take effect from midnight on March 25 until the same time March 28, after polling closes for presidential and parliamentary elections.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the closure of all Nigeria’s land and sea borders to allow for peaceful conduct of the forthcoming national elections,” the statement read.
The closure order is intended to forestall the illegal influx of non-nationals who may have a motive of interfering with the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.
Nigeria is bordered by Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and also has borders with Chad and Niger in the north but these borders have been largely porous and ineffectively policed leading to an unrestricted entry of illegal migrants into the country.
The directive for the closure of the borders came even as the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, David Parradang, warned foreign nationals resident in the country to steer clear of all polling units during the general elections, warning that any non-Nigerian caught interfering with the electoral process will be prosecuted accordingly.
The CG who gave this warning during a meeting Wednesday with some embassy officials and leaders of ECOWAS communities resident in Nigeria, particularly from neighbouring countries such as Cameroun and Chad, at the NIS headquarters in Abuja, explained that the warning became necessary to ensure that unnecessary and unwarranted interference by foreigners during the elections does not mar the existing robust relationship among states in the sub region.
During the meeting, which was convened to sensitize non-Nigerians on their roles before, during and after the forth coming national elections, the CG also urged the community leaders to advise any of their nationals who is in possession of Nigeria’s Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, national identity card or passport to surrender same immediately, warning again that any non-national caught with any of these instruments will face the law.
Parradang further informed the community leaders that the NIS would embark on biometric registration of all ECOWAS and other African citizens resident in the country.
According to him, the exercise is intended to build a reliable database of all non-Nigerians resident anywhere in the country.
The interactive meeting had representatives of envoys and communities leaders from Niger Republic, Senegal, Chad, Cameroun Republic, Guinea and Mali.