President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday raised the tempo in the efforts by his administration to tame the worsening insecurity in the country as he directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to increase surveillance at the nation’s borders.
The president, in his speech in Abuja during the virtual inauguration of the NIS Technology Building, stressed the urgent need to improve security around the nation’s borders so that criminals won’t find Nigeria a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminalities.
He also charged the nation’s security agencies to improve their drive towards the protection of lives and property.
Thursday’s directive by Buhari is the third this week to deal with the security crisis confronting the nation, leading to abductions, banditry and insurgency.
The president had on Tuesday declared Zamfara State, the epicentre of banditry in the North-west, a no-fly zone and banned mining activities in the state.
Buhari, through one of his spokesmen, Mallam Garba Shehu, also on Wednesday, ordered security agencies to shoot on sight bearers of illegal weapons such as AK-47.
The president, in his speech, instructed all security agencies to raise their performances in protecting lives and property, with a mandate that the country’s Global Security Index must be improved.
He said: “It is imperative that our ranking in the Global Security Index improves and I am using this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their activities towards achieving this goal. I assure you that the administration will give the much needed support to you in your operations.”
Buhari urged the NIS to collaborate with international security organisations such as INTERPOL in safeguarding the borders.
He added: “As a security agency, I charge you to be relentless in carrying out your statutory duties of keeping our borders safe while you ensure that criminal elements don’t find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality.
“I urge you to actively collaborate with international security organisations like the INTERPOL, in safeguarding our borders. Remember that a safe border is a prerequisite for a safe nation. You must develop strong working relationships and ties with the international community and friendly nations as it relates to migration management; adopt and implement workable strategies from them while also sharing your best practices.
“Frontline workers and operators should remember that they are our windows to the world. They must show the best face of Nigeria at all times.’’
He commended the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, for consistently pushing for the completion of the Technology Building, which will serve as the command and control centre of the NIS as well as the repository of personal data of Nigerians and expatriates resident in Nigeria.
Aregbesola, in his speech, said the security challenges facing the country were temporary and surmountable, adding that the “weakest link’’ has been the land borders and the Technology Building will play a pivotal role in the control of illegal migration.
Aregbesola stated that the visa-on-arrival policy of the federal government ensures proper documentation of all entrants whose biodata are shared with international security structures to ensure tight surveillance and compliance.
He announced a review of the stay period from 90 days to 30 days.
According to him, 50 per cent of all immigration personnel will now work at the nation’s borders for optimal productivity.
In his remarks, the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammed Babandede, said the Technology Building was the best project the service had ever initiated and completed since it was established in 1958.
Ejiofor Alike in Lagos, Deji Elumoye in Abuja