Ahead of February general elections, the Nigeria Immigration Service has said that entry points into the country would be closed, especially land borders, as a strategy to halt foreign participation.
The agency also threatened to charge and deport foreigners who will disguise as tourists to monitor the elections illegally.
The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandele, while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking care of the accreditation of the election monitors, adding that only genuine monitors would be allowed access to election venue.
He said: “If you are a monitor participating in election, you should declare it right from the beginning. We don’t want people to do counter sign operation in the name of election.”
The Immigration boss who disclosed that they have identified some hotspots in connection to the forthcoming elections warned that, “We don’t want anybody who will come and create tension and crises in our community, so any non- Nigerian coming in, we must know the purpose of coming”
He said: “If you get a visa to come to Nigeria to do business, to do tourism, or to participate in something else other than monitoring election and we found you monitoring election, we will charge you and deport you because that is not what you asked for.”
According to him, “It is not allowed in our country. If you come into the country for a purpose you must remain for that purpose. If you are coming to work, if you are coming as a tourist, then don’t use the opportunity to participate in election in any way.”
The Comptroller General who also promised judicious utilisation of the N2.6 billion allocated to the service for election monitoring and participation, challenged Nigerians to hold them accountable if they feel otherwise.
He said his organisation will among other strategies train its officers daily on new trends that will enable them compliment the Nigerian Police.
He further promised to provide strong rapid response team as well as ensure maximum patrol of all land borders.
“As for the N2.6 billion allocated for immigration. I promise that every officer will be paid his /her allowance. We will fuel our vehicles, we will patrol, provide identity for election so that any officer who decide to participate in election and doesn’t have the identity, he/ she will be in trouble. We will provide food for officers so that they don’t have to leave their duty posts and all this things will be made available,” he explained.