The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has said it will soon commence the electronic registration of non-Nigerians residing in Rivers State.
NIS Comptroller in Rivers State, Barrister Rasheed Segun Adegoko, disclosed this yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on the state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Adegoko stated that the exercise would be extended to non-Nigerians from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.
He therefore appealed to the NUJ to assist the service in spreading the information about the e-registration exercise to the people of the state.
The NIS Comptroller said: “Essentially, in few weeks time, we will be flagging off the e-registration of all non-Nigerians in Rivers state; including ECOWAS nationals. We need your support to get the message to the people of Rivers State.
“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 will engage the traditional rulers and nongovernmental organizations to ensure that the information gets to them.
“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 biometrics 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 State, 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, 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.”
Responding, Chairman of NUJ in the state, Stanley Job Stanley, who decried the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders, lauded the NIS for the initiative.
Stanley assured the service of the support of the leadership of the union and journalists in the state.