FG to Conduct Biometrics Registration of Migrants

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• Says governors responsible for security in states

By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government has unfolded plans to carry out biometrics registration of all regular migrants who have overstayed their visas in Nigeria.

The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau, made this disclosure yesterday, during a panel session at the opening ceremony of International Press Institute (IPI) Congress at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Danbazau, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Okey Enelamah, were on the panel hosted by the President of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria ( BON) and CEO of Channels TV, Mr. John Momoh.

Danbazau said the biometrics on the migrants, who are resident in the country would provide data and would enable the federal government to monitor the movement of such individuals.

His disclosure was in view of escalating communal clashes between herdsmen and farmers in some parts of the country.

He said the process was ongoing, adding that the authority will be able to conclude it as soon as possible.

According to him, the Nigerian Immigration Service will also take charge of all data base of all Nigerians including green cards holders.

“The Ministry of Interior has established a situation room that is connected to the border posts that will enable effective monitoring of what is happening at our borders. I will also be able to see what is happening from that situation room,” Danbazau said.

He added that though Nigeria wanted to protect its vast borders against criminal elements, the ECOWAS protocol on free movement was in the interest of the country, as Nigerians constituted more than half of West African population.

The minister accused the  Zamfara State Governor, Yari Abdulaziz, of abdicating his responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the state, which led to the rising cases of banditry in the state.

He said the solution to the Zamfara killings was good governance, rather than inviting soldiers, adding that the security of state is the responsibility of the governors and not the federal government.

“Good governance is the final solution to the security challenges in Zamfara; it is not the number of soldiers. It is not good governance for the Governor of   Zamfara to say he is withdrawing as chief security officer. Even if he is given all the soldiers in the world, he can’t use those forces to deal with those issues,” he said.

He attributed the herders and farmers’ clashes to the fall-out from demographic pressure and criminality , saying more lives were lost to cattle rustling in Zamfara than to pastoralists/farmer strife in Benue State.

He said federal government had in the last year spent $7.5 billion on provision of infrastructure, including road, railway and power across the nation.

In her welcome remarks, the Executive Director, IPI, Barbara Trionfi, said delegates from 40 countries were attending the 61 IPI World Congress in Nigeria.

She , however, lamented the erosion of press freedom globally, saying independent journalists faced attacks in Zimbabwe, Turkey, Mexico, Russia, Ethiopia and Philippine.

Trionfi said journalists these countries were denied access to justice and were also threatened.

She said murder of journalists is the easiest way to silence them.

“As journalists are attacked all over the world,  the journalism community are coming together in solidarity as editors, reporters and publishers. If we can’t convince our readers and leaders about independent journalism as path to fight for, it will be very easy for those who want to silence journalists to do so,” Trionfi said.