The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has advised foreigners resident in Enugu State in possession of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to surrender it voluntarily to the organization.
“You must surrender voluntarily or risk prosecution if apprehended by NIS operatives,’’ NIS Comptroller in the state, Mr Sam Chinda, warned on Thursday in Enugu.
Chinda gave the warning while addressing representatives of non-Nigerian residents in the 17 local government areas of the state at a meeting with them and Divisional Immigration Officers (DIOs) in his office.
He urged the foreigners to feel free to return the cards to NIS offices in the council areas or bring them to the state command in Enugu.
“We will not arrest or prosecute you provided you return them voluntarily, because if we discover them with you after this notice and information, you will be prosecuted,’’ he stated.
Chinda noted that it remained a serious offence for any foreigner residing in Nigeria to possess the PVC or participate in the forthcoming general elections.
“The essence of this meeting is for me to know you, the leaders of the non-Nigerians in the state and pass this information to you for onward passage to your people.
“This is because it is possible that some of your people may have gotten the PVCs ignorantly, without knowing its implication,’’ he said.
He also warned the aliens against being used as political thugs by politicians during the elections, saying “if you are caught, you will face the music; make sure you stay away from voting points.’’
The NIS boss, however, noted that Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) protocol allowed citizens of member-states to move freely in and out of member-nations.
But, he said that such foreigners, while in Nigeria, must be registered with the NIS, have valid identification and obey laws of the land.
He also stressed the need for non-Nigerians to always do the needful immediately they arrived in the country, especially on issue of proper registration with the NIS, so as to avoid arrest and repatriation during routine raids.
“It is only when you do the proper registration and all the necessary things expected of you that you can get the ECOWAS NIS resident card,’’ Chinda said.
He charged the DIOs to always avoid acts capable of dragging the image of NIS to the mud, stressing that as ambassadors of the establishment in the council areas, they must project the image of the organization in good light at all times.
“As you all know, NIS has a great role to play in the 2019 general elections, and that is why we must join hands with the Federal Government through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)to make it a huge success,’’ he added. (NAN)
– Dec. 13, 2018 @ 19:19 GMT |