THE Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, says that the year 2020 birthed a global pandemic issue, the COVID-19 that prompted nations of the world to enforce mandatory lock down and border closure before its eventual relaxation within the year.
It noted that the nation had its own fair share of the COVID-19 experience and the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, as the lead agency in charge of migration control and border management at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, NAIA, had to step up personnel protection to insulate them from contracting COVID-19 through the installation of glass shields that separate the operatives from passengers, use of face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitizers among others.
According to the review, no fewer than 239,114 outbound and inbound migrants passed through the NAIA, Abuja between 1st January 2020 and 15th December, 2020.
“So far, 73,582 Nigerians and 46,665 non Nigerians departed NAIA, Abuja for various destinations abroad. Similarly, 81,277 Nigerians and 37,590 non Nigerians arrived through NAIA airport within the period under review. A total of 625 Nigerians were deported and 24 repatriated for various criminal and immigration related offences abroad.
“In the same vein, 12 foreign nationals who failed to comply with Nigerian entry requirement were refused admission and returned,” the review said.
It explained that 34 Nigerians predominantly females (young ladies) were refused departure for non-compliance and violation of immigration regulations and other extant laws. The young ladies were victims of human trafficking being transported for the purpose of forced prostitution and sex exploitation and were between the ages of 18 to 28.
The statement by Sunday James, NIS Public Relations Officer, said that the final destination of these ladies was Dubai, UAE and on interception, they were profiled and forwarded to NIS Service Headquarter for further investigation and released to NAPTIP for rehabilitation.
According to the statement, the change of operational strategy led to the uncovering of the persons recruiting and trafficking these ladies via sting operation where six recruiters/traffickers were apprehended (4 males and 2 females). And the identities of 3 recruiters/sponsors resident in Dubai were equally uncovered.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Command, within the period under review, received and handed over 100 Nigerians whose offences were not immigration related to relevant agencies – drug related issues, Financial Crimes, Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.
It noted that the review will not be complete without acknowledging the impact of the Comptroller General’s transformation agenda in the deployment of Migration Information and Data Analysis System, MIDAS, to enhance air border management at all the airports.
“With the deployment of this veritable platform, the Airport Command has been experiencing smooth and seamless passenger processing.
“The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, commended the Comptroller of Immigration Service, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Command, Sadat Hassan, for operating an air tight entry and exit point that resulted in those various arrests.
“The Service wishes to appeal to the general public to co-operate with the operatives at the Airport during clearance procedures to reduce human contact so as to avoid the spread of COVID-19,” the statement added.