18th July, 2011
The menace posed by Boko Haram Islamist sect in parts of the north has led to a massive crackdown on illegal aliens in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.
The Nigeria Immigration Service, Sokoto Command, has begun mass arrest and deportation of illegal aliens from Benin Republic, Togo and Niger. At least 500 of them were deported last week, according to sources.
Investigations revealed that thousands of such aliens enter the country without following immigration procedures because of Nigeriaâ€™s porous borders with their countries of origin.
P.M.NEWS gathered that most of the aliens sneak into Nigeria through Illela in Sokoto and Kamba in Kebbi State. While they are in Nigeria, the women engage in petty trading, selling foodstuffs and employed as domestic servants, while the men are employed as security guards.
A task force has been set up by the Sokoto Command of the Immigration Service to arrest, screen and deport foreigners without valid residency permits.
The Commandâ€™s Public Relations Officer, Malam Shehu said the exercise is aimed at ensuring proper documentation of all ECOWAS nationals who reside in any part of the country.
â€œThe exercise is being carried out nationwide and aimed at eradicating illegal foreigners in the country,â€ Shehu said.
Meanwhile, most of the affected African nationals have left the country including those with travel documents.
At Kamba border between Benin, Niger and Kebbi state, our reporter saw hundreds of Togolese and Beninois nationals waiting for trucks to transport them back to their countries.
â€”Aliyu Musa /Sokoto