54 years after, FG launches new immigration regulations

• New laws to tackle influx of terrorists, foreign herdsmen, others – FG

THE Federal Government on Monday launched new immigration regulations, 2017, to replace the antiquated national immigration laws that have been in operation since 54 years ago.

The new regulations are also designed to enhance the protection of the country’s borders against trans-national crimes, particularly, movement of terrorists through effective collaboration with the Interpol.

Minister of Interior, Lieutenant Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau, presented the new immigration regulation to the public in Abuja.

He said the new document replaces that of 1963, so as to tackle some operational challenges of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and make it responsive to global migration trend.

The new regulation was also designed to prevent the influx of terrorists, killer herdsmen and some other irregular immigrants.

Dambassau, added that the new regulations include temporary permit, visa on arrival, entry for business purposes and immigrants register among others.

He said: “Certainly, remember I mentioned that it will curtail the movement of trans-humans. There is absolutely no doubt that we have herdsmen who go from Nigeria to other countries and we also have from other countries that come to Nigeria.

“There was an ECOWAS decision in 1998, which provides for control of movement of trans-humans, which include providing reception centres by host countries and also issuing international trans-humans certificates which is providing by the ECOWAS.

“So, this regulation will be able to enhance that decision which has been since 1998, but has not been implemented. We are working on that. As you know, the issue of herdsmen and farmers clashes is not just a local issue it is an issue that has wider regional implications because ECOWAS once recognises free movement which include that of trans-humans.”

Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede, in his remark, described the achievement as historic, said that until May 21, 2015, when the revised Immigration Acts was enacted, his agency operated with the 1963 Act, which was not only obsolete but grossly inadequate to contain unfolding migratory realities.

Babandede, said aside providing legal framework for effective implementation of the Act 2015, the revised document consolidates all existing Immigration Regulations.

He explained that the revised regulation is a product of painstaking discourse that includes contributions from experts, as well as serving and retired Immigration Officers.

While presenting the highlights of the immigration regulation 2017, the legal adviser Ministry of Interior, Adebola Odugbesan, said that regulation has a core objective to replace the former regulations which has been in existence 54 years ago.

It was also noted that the first Immigration Act, passed by the parliament in 1963 only allowed a maximum of N100 fine for offenders, but the new one has increased the fine to N1million.