The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to urgently come up with more stringent policies to curb the menace of smuggling and illegal immigration into the country.
To this end, the House resolved to organise a public hearing on the need to safeguard Nigeria’s porous border and report back to the House within four weeks.
The House resolution followed a motion moved by Hon Rotimi Agunsoye entitled, “need to stem the continued smuggling and unlawful access of immigrants through the land and sea borders.”
While moving the motion, the lawmaker lamented the “notorious and worrisome fact that both land and sea borders of Nigeria have become very porous, thus allowing unlawful access of both goods and immigrants into the country.”
He noted that, markets, shops and stalls in the country are awash with smuggled goods, including clothing materials and food items.
The lawmaker also claimed that, “the roads are filled with cars smuggled into the country without the anti-smuggling unit and other formations of Nigerian Customs Services being able to stem the tide.”
He however, expressed worry that both the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service are operating below expected standards in their responsibilities of stemming smuggling and entry of illegal immigrants into the country.
According to him, there is need to ensure that the nation’s borders are strictly guarded and monitored to drastically reduce the spate of smuggling through the land and sea borders and also to ensure an overtly controlled migration of foreigners into the country.
He further explained that, finished goods that have been smuggled into the country pose serious economic threat and unhealthy competition to goods which have been painstakingly produced by Nigerians companies.
Contributing to the motion, Deputy Speaker, Hon Lasun Yussuf kicked against suggestion that walls should be built around the boarder, saying, “when you talk about building the wall, it is very difficult.”
He added that, in most Africa countries Nigerians of different tribes would be found there, stressing that what the government should do is to stimulate the country’s economy and protect the citizenry.
Hon Chika Adamu in his contribution to the motion said that, Nigerians are being short-changed through the activities of illegal immigrants.
The chairman, House committee on Rules and Bussiness, Hon Orker-Jev Emmanuel on his part, said that our boarders have become porous that foreign goods now come into the country, stressing that this matter should be taken more seriously to safeguard Nigeria.
Hon Ossai Nicholas in his own contribution said that, “we are complaining of the borders being porous, have we taken the political will to stop these porous boarder by providing the Nigeria Customs Service and Immigration Service necessary equipment or infrastructure”.
He however, said that there was need to build walls to check against the porous boarder.
He then suggested that, N1 trillion should be allocated to the Federal Ministry of Interior, to build infrastructure and procurement of other necessary equipment to address the challenges of porous border.
The chairman, House committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, said that, there was need to engage enough personnel to man the country’s boarder.
The motion scaled through, when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara.