No fewer than 30,000 Nigeian irregular migrants seeking greener pastures in Europe have been rescued from high sea in Italy with many more stranded at the land borders in Libya, Niger Republic among others.
The Controller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS), CGI Mohammed Babandede, who made the disclosure while giving an update on the challenges of border control during media parley in Abuja yesterday, also revealed that discussions are already in top gear with European countries for the safe repatriation of the stranded immigrants.
He also announced the final resolution of the lingering controversy over the 2000 protesting persons illegally recruited into the service in 2015, explaining that out of the 1470 of them that underwent fresh recruitment, 888 that finally made it would be issued provisional appointment letters.
“By next year, we are going to use border satellites equipment to monitor everything happening at the border territories from Abuja without necessarily being there. We have officers already undergoing training on border patrol.
“Our target next year is to check the patrol system. What I inherited was border patrol post where officers build and sleep with their families. But we want to change the pattern to patrol kiosk to accommodate only the officers on duty not with their families. I will make border control more regimented next year.
“Many European countries are ready to help in border control in the area of investment but we are facing many challenges. You are aware that Nigerians ranked number three among the illegal migrants rescued at the high seas.
“Unfortunately, you can’t believe that 30,000 Nigerians have been rescued from the high sea in Italy alone. Of course, greater number of others who travelled by road are also trapped in Libya, Niger among other countries.
“Our responsibility is to make migration sever, regular and above all efficient to Nigerians. We are already talking to the countries involved to ensure that they would be fully reintegrated when they are repatriated,” he noted.
Wile giving update on the resolution of the recruitment crisis, the Immigration boss said: “The screening exercise was carried out at the NIS headquarters Abuja between August 29 and September 6, 2016. A total number of 1470 reported for screening while 888 of the applicants met all the criteria and were therefore successful.