Fashola tasks imigration, customs on safety of Nigerian borders

Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Tuesday advised the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service to make Nigerian borders  crime free.

Fashola made the call in Ikeja when the Lagos State Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs Justina Ahamdu, presented the new 64-page e-passport to him.

The passport was also presented to his wife, Dame Abimbola Fashola and the Deputy Governor, Mrs  Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the documents were processed on the spot and handed over to the governor and the others.

The governor said it would be difficult to check cross border crimes and strengthen security in the country if the nation`s borders were porous.

Fashola said that effective monitoring and control of the nation`s borders was necessary to check importation of infectious diseases into the country.

“It is what passes you that police and other security agencies will have to mop up.

“Police and other security agencies will be overwhelmed if it becomes too easy for criminals to pass through the borders,” he said.

The governor said though the Ebola Virus Disease had been contained, there was no guarantee that it would not find its way back into the country if things were not done properly at the borders.

He said he would be ready to provide the needed assistance to strengthen border health such that it would become possible to quarantine visitors with signs of infectious diseases.

He said that it was easy to deal with the situation at point of entry than dealing with it when those affected were already in the country.

Earlier, Ahmadu had said the 64-page e-passport was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan on July 30 in Abuja to replace the old 32-page document.

She said the new document would reduce the stress of applying for passport re-issuing by travellers as it had more pages and could be used for longer time.

“The 64-pae e-passport also has the advantage of enhanced security features which prevent identity theft, substitution and other crimes,” she said.

Ahmadu said that the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr David Paradang, had approved the establishment of two additional passport offices in Lagos State to ensure that seamless and quality service delivery continued  to be the hallmark of the service.

She called on the governor to assist the service in its efforts to speedily repatriate non-Nigerians who posed threat to public peace.