The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has vowed to deport foreign nationals who intend to disguise as tourists to illegally observe next month’s general elections in Nigeria.
According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, the Controller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, said this during his first quarterly forum with Command Comptrollers and Zonal Coordinators Thursday in Abuja, on the Service’s preparation for the elections.
He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was already taking care of the accreditation of foreign election observers and only genuine observers would be allowed access to election venues.
“If you are a monitor participating in election, you should declare it right from the beginning. We don’t want people to do countersign operation in the name of election.
“We don’t want anybody who will come and create tension and crises in our community so any none Nigerian coming in, we must know the purpose of coming,” he said.
Mr Babandede also said prior to the general elections, entry points into the country would be closed, especially land borders, as a strategy to halt the participation of foreigners in the polls.
“If you get a visa to come to Nigeria to do business, to do tourism, or to participate in something else other than monitoring election and we find you monitoring election, we will charge you and deport you because that is not what you asked for.
“It is not allowed in our country. If you come into the country for a purpose you must remain for that purpose. If you are coming to work, work. If you are coming as a tourist, then don’t use the opportunity to participate in election in any way.”
The Comptroller-General who also promised judicious use of the N2.6 billion allocated to the service for election monitoring and participation, challenged Nigerians to hold the agency accountable if they feel otherwise.
He promised that from the money allocated to the agency, every officer will be paid their allowances.
“We will fuel our vehicles, we will patrol, provide identity for election so that any officer who decides to participate in election and doesn’t have the identity, he or she will be in trouble. We will provide food for officers so that they don’t have to leave their duty posts and all these things will be made available,” he said.
The NIS just like other security agencies is making final preparations for the general elections scheduled to hold in February and March.