By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced that it has commenced e-registration of all migrants in all the 18 local government areas of Cross River State.
The state Comptroller of Immigration, Okey Ezugwu, said the e-registration for immigrants is “voluntarily mandatory”.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Calabar on Monday, Ezugwu said the registration aims at ensuring that foreigners residing in Nigeria were effectively managed.
He said the e-registration is designed to ensure that Nigeria gets a comprehensive registration and data base of all migrants residing within its territory.
“We are commencing the registration of migrants in all the 18 local government areas of the state. Every migrant must be captured and profiled so that we can be held responsible. It helps in planning and enhances our productivity, security wise.
“Cross River State occupies a strategic place when it comes to boundary issues. Our peculiar situation makes it imperative to account for every foreigner in the state.
“The essence of profiling is not to find out whether he (immigrant) has a mission or not, but to know that he is here. It is not a medium to find out who has overstayed or find out one’s status, but to know where you are,” Ezugwu said.
He said aside from the registration centres in the local government areas, the headquarters of the state command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), in Calabar would also serve as one of the e-registration centres, and has been fully equipped for the purpose.
Giving explanation on the migrants required to register, the state comptroller of Immigration said: “There are two categories of immigrants — those who are expected to register and those who are exempt from registration. Those who are to register include visitors staying for more than 90 days; residents who are non-Nigerians, and ECOWAS nationals. Those who are exempted are persons under the age of 18, persons enjoying diplomatic immunity, and immigrants staying in Nigeria for less than 90 days.”
Announcing that the e-registration was free for migrants, Ezugwu urged landlords in the state to identify migrants residing as their tenants and encourage them to go and register at designated centres in all the local government areas of the state.
He said the e-registration centres are well equipped with the latest gadgets that can transmit data from the point of registration to the data base in Abuja.