The Edo State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has apprehended over 400 persons on Wednesday for alleged illegal entry into the country.
The suspected “illegal” immigrants were said to have been arrested during a mop-up exercise which started at about 4am on Wednesday across the 18 local government areas of the state.
It is understood that some of them, who were arrested in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan-West and Uhunmwode local government areas, had forced their way into Nigeria from neighbouring countries like Niger Republic, Mali and Chad.
Confirming the arrest, the Edo state Comptroller of NIS, Mr. David Adi, said the mop-up exercise became imperative due to intelligence reports to the effect that many irregular immigrants had relocated to the state, without any means of livelihood.
He said: “There are specific laws that specify how they (immigrants) should come in. Our law says that they should come in with proper travel documents and through approved entry points.
“But the security reports available to us indicated that many of them are in Edo state and they came in through illegal routes.
“If we do not ease them out, they will constitute serious security threats to this country. All of us know the security situation. Some of them claim that they are from Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa or Kebbi. But we, as professionals, always fish them out.”
Adi said that though the citizens of ECOWAS member-countries had the privilege of free movement, such persons should possess the right documents and travel through approved routes.
He added that those found without proper travel documents would be deported to their home countries after undergoing a screening process to ascertain their nationalities while those who are Nigerians will be released.
“Then, we will take those of them who are foreigners without proper documents back to their countries,” he added.