The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has blamed the influx of illegal aliens in the country on the dismantling of inland checkpoints on the highways.
The Comptroller of Immigration in Benue, Alhaji Yahaya Yunusa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi on Thursday that the dismantling of the checkpoints aided the influx of illegal aliens through road transport.
He said the inland checks enabled the officers to control the movement of aliens on the highways.
``Now that the checkpoints are dismantled it is difficult to apprehend those travelling on the road,'' Yunusa said.
He said NIS had to depend on other strategies to check aliens.
Yunusa said Benue was lucky to have few of such cases owing to its difficult boarder terrain.
``Most of the boarder towns are mountainous, forested and not motorable, so, it is difficult for them to enter through there, some of the few cases we had, came through Ikom, in Cross River,'' he said.
Yunusa said those that still found their way in the state through other entry points were, nonetheless, picked by immigration officers.
``Only last week, we sent back 14 Nigeriens to their country for not possessing valid travel documents.
``In fact, in the last three months, we have arrested and repatriated 70 illegal aliens to some of the countries situated on the boarder lines with Benue,'' the comptroller said.
He said there were no foreign nationals working in the state civil service either as nurses or teachers but admitted that there were ``quite a number of them who are hired for menial jobs''.
He said the ECOWAS protocol allows foreign nationals to work as either skilled or unskilled labour if they possessed valid travel documents and were properly employed.
He, however, said the service was collaborating with non-Nigerian communities in the state to ensure that foreigners ,who were not registered members, were handed over to the command.
Yunusa appealed to the people to be security conscious and to report the presence of all non-Nigerians in their communities to the security agencies.
He commended the synergy with the other security agencies in the state and described it as ``wonderful''. (NAN)