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Senate to enact law on immigrants' registration

Posted by By Wahab Abdulah on 2005/08/23 | Views: 543 |

Senate to enact law on immigrants' registration

THE Senate Committee on Internal Affairs says it is set to enact a law which would enhance the mandatory registration of immigrants in the country.

LAGOS — THE Senate Committee on Internal Affairs says it is set to enact a law which would enhance the mandatory registration of immigrants in the country.

It also condemned the low patronage and registration of aliens under the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) which it said was not in the best interest of the country.

Continental Transfer Technique Ltd (CONTEC) is the technical company handling the CERPAC projects aimed at the production of a new type of residence permit and Alien card, which will be forge and tamper proof to replace the paper residence permit in use before.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the committee’s visit to the immigration offices both at Ikoyi and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Chairman of the committee, Senator Abubakar Sodangi said: “It is unfortunate that this project is still at the lowest patronage for about three years of its inception. We were informed by the project handler, Continental Tranfert Technique Ltd. (CONTEC) that the annual projection for CERPAC was given as 300,000 aliens to be registered annually under the project by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).”

Senator Sodangi noted that considering the equipment put in place by the technical partner’s company, the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) need to double their efforts to ensure their officers learn fast the operations of the machines installed for the project.

He said: “The equipment are there, but our immigration officers are far behind in knowing about IT on CERPAC scheme. They need training and retraining. You can see that except for our intervention for the past three years, when CONTEC has been working for Nigeria there is no active involvement of the immigration staff.

“They are just showing interest in the last few weeks, when they realize that the Senate and Nigerians are interested in the project.

“We are not here to witch hunt, but under the law it is the immigration service that should produce green cards and work permit to foreigners, who come to do business in Nigeria. But due to our inadequacies, the federal government could not procure the new equipments.

“No matter what the inadequacies are, we want the immigration service to be trained, and provided money so that they can finally take over the job. It is an issue that goes beyond money but it has security implications too.”

The Senator however promised that the Senate and the Federal Government will do everything possible to ensure that the project receive a boost and the immigration service put on its toes to function well in that area.

Speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director of CONTEC Ltd, Dr Benoy Berry said that presently, the operation capacity of the project is about 12%, because of low registration by expertriate but added that very soon the second phase of the project will take off with the installations of super gate equipments, Satellite monitoring and production of the ECOWAS card permit.

He said that many of the officials of the immigration service have been trained for the handling and operation of the equipments.

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