Immigration service threatens to deport foreigners, close borders during general elections

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has vowed to charge and deport foreigners who may want to illegally observe next month’s general elections, by disguising as tourists or otherwise

The Controller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, disclosed this during his first quarterly forum on the Service’s preparation for the elections with Command Comptrollers and Zonal Coordinators Thursday in Abuja.

He explained that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is already taking care of the accreditation of foreign election observer to ensure only genuine observers are allowed access to election venue.

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“If you are a monitor (sic) participating in election you should declare it right from the beginning. We don’t want people to do countersign operation in the name of election. We don’t want anybody who will come and create tension and crises in our community so any none Nigerian coming in, we must know the purpose of coming,“ Babandede said.

He added that entry points into the country would be closed before the elections, especially land borders, as a strategy to halt foreign participation.

“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 find you monitoring election, we will charge you and deport you because that is not what you asked for.”

“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, 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. He  challenged Nigerians to hold them accountable if they fail to fulfil their responsibilities.

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