Precious Akutamadu/Dianabasi Effiong
Port Harcourt – The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will soon begin the electronic registration of non-Nigerians residing in Rivers, the State Comptroller, Mr Rasheed Adegoke, has said.
Adegoke said this in Port Harcourt on Monday when he paid a courtesy visit to Rivers Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He also stated that the exercise would be extended to non-Nigerians from countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He appealed to the NUJ to assist the NIS in publicising the e-registration exercise to the people and residents of Rivers.
“Essentially, in few weeks we will be launching the e-registration of all non-Nigerians in Rivers, all including ECOWAS nationals.
“We need your support to get the message to the people of Rivers.
“It may affect landlords, it may affect hoteliers because these people live and work within a particular space.
“We don’t want the landlord to say `I don’t know’.
“At a point, we are going to engage the traditional rulers; we are going to engage Non-Governmental Organisations to ensure that the information gets to them,” he said.
According to him, the e-registration is for us to know the number and activities of non-Nigerians living in Rivers state.
“They will be documented; they will come in and their bio-metrics and pictures will be captured.
“So, if you ask me, in a few months time, what is the number of non-Nigerians living in Rivers, I will tell you off-hand from this exercise.
“Now, the beauty of it is that there is an amnesty because you may want to ask me about those who are staying irregularly, not illegally; there will be amnesty.
“The President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his magnanimity, has granted a six-month amnesty.
“So, even if you are staying and you don’t have papers, just come forward there is no penalty, we will guide you; we will assist you,’’ Adegoke said.
In his response, the State Chairman of the NUJ, Mr Stanley Job Stanley, who decried what he called the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders, lauded the NIS for initiating the exercise.
He also assured the service of the support of the leadership and members of the union in Rivers.