The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Wednesday in Abuja disclosed that Nigeria has over 1,400 illegal border routes warning that this poses grave security implications for the country.
The Comptroller General of NIS, David Parradang, made the disclosure while addressing the National Conference Committee on Immigration.
He said that even though the country had only 84 approved land border control posts designated in the 1980s after the Maitatsine riots, “there are more than 1,400 illegal borders in the country.”
“Across the over 4,000 square kilometres coverage, we have well over 1,400 illegal routes which are not manned. The number of illegal routes is 100 times more than the number of approved routes.
“In Adamawa State for instance, we have about five control posts but we have 80 illegal routes in the state through which people come into the country,” he said.
The Immigration boss added that in Ogun State, there are 83 illegal routes and this goes round the country.
“This has grave security implications for the country,” the NIS boss stated.
Parradang equally said that the Service required an annual recruitment of 5,000 personnel for a period of five years to carry out its duties effectively.
He added that the current 22,300 immigration officers were grossly inadequate to carry out the Service’s mandate.
According to him, the mandate of the service includes issuance of passport, border patrol and other security-related duties among other functions.
He noted that apart from the shortage of manpower, the Service was contending with other numerous challenges.
“We have non-demarcated, poorly-marked borders. This makes people at the border community to interrelate to the extent that stringent control is apparently difficult.
“We have some people who have their bedrooms in another country and their sitting rooms in Nigeria; the windows open to another country, so, how do you tell that person that he should not cross the border?.
“We have proposed to government that we need to add 5,000 people on an annual basis for the next five years to be able to reasonably patrol our borders,” he said.
He said the NIS has inadequate facilities such as patrol vehicles and only two aircraft.
“We need communication gadgets and scanners because our border posts are not interconnected with the E-pass system,” he said.
He canvassed for better welfare and insurance for officers, better budgetary allocation, supply of modern border patrol aircraft as and the review of the service’s policy to meet modern day challenges.
Parradang, however, said that the NIS would open 30 new control posts in 2014 to effectively monitor the borders.
He stated that the Service would have two border bases for each of the 30 control posts, noting that the border patrol-base is supposed to be 40 kilometres hinterland for easy patrol.