The minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and the acting comptroller-general of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Isah Idris, have told the newly inducted 548 cadets of the agency that the “overriding reason for their employment is the security of the Nigeria’s territorial borders.”
They reiterated the point in a statement issued on Wednesday and signed on behalf of Mr Idris by the NIS public relations officer, Amos Okpu, an assistant comptroller of immigration.
Mr Okpu said the duo spoke on Tuesday during the passing out parade of the cadets at the Immigration Training School in Kano, Kano State.
He said the parade was held for the 47th Superintendent Basic Course cadets after an intensive six-month period of physical drills and academic training.
Delivering his message to the cadets, Mr Aregbesola said the integrity of Nigeria’s borders is the responsibility of the NIS, and urged the new recruits to have it in their minds that securing Nigeria against trespassers, aggressors and interlopers is their primary responsibility.
The minister, who was the parade reviewing officer, was represented by a commissioner at the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB), Emmanuel Bassey, a major general, retired.
He said; “Your engagement into the Nigeria Immigration Service reaffirms the government’s commitment to strengthening our internal security of which our borders are an integral part. Without secure borders, no security measure can work. External criminally minded persons can infiltrate the country and escape at will, if the borders are not well secured. Deadly diseases are spread also from one country to the other through cross border movements. This is why national borders were shut in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020, completely grounding the aviation industry and other modes of international transportation.
“Even the economic security of a people is threatened when borders are not properly manned.
“As you have been taught, your main mission is to man the nation’s borders. Every other assignment is secondary. This must settle in your innermost being and resonate in your archetype: to keep the bad people away from our country and encourage the good people to come in. No harm must befall our nation on your watch.”
He urged them to be disciplined, even as he quoted the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, that “the strength of any military organisation lies not in its size but in its discipline.”
Technology to the rescue
On his part, the acting comptroller general, who has consistently emphasised the massive number of illegal routes to the country, said the adoption of technology by his agency remains the best strategy to adequately man the borderlines.
Mr Idris, who encouraged the new cadets to improve their technical and technology skills, said the ongoing deployment of the electronic-border management system will soon phase out the challenges currently identified with the system.
He said; “We are retooling our border security structures following the adoption of the eBorder project which would demand massive deployment of human and ICT logistics for effective border security operations across control posts.
“We shall complement this with reinvigorated patrols at the border flanks with the aim of keeping away undesirable migrants. As you graduate out of this institution today, I assure you that you will be needed at the forward operations bases and the border control posts to offer your contributions to our fatherland.”
Mr Isah added that the agency is also upgrading the combat readiness of the border patrol personnel “especially with the recent training exercise for 250 personnel in Sokoto State.”
He said many of them have been successfully deployed to border formations across the country.
“Just as I mentioned earlier, we are placing huge premiums on border security and to this end I have commenced operational visits to our border control posts with my recent visit to some of our blue border formations in Akwa Ibom State. We shall continue with this effort, especially with the e-Border project,” he added.
Meanwhile, the officials also advised the new cadets to shun corrupt practices and be hardworking. They said as the agency values and rewards integrity and commitment to work, it does not spare the rod when its men are found wanting.
The acting comptroller general said; “It is instructive to inform you that we have strong consequence management mechanisms in place to attend to all forms of conduct/activities. While good conduct and performances will be handsomely rewarded, poor conduct and other offences against discipline will receive their due sanctions in line with extant public service rules and paramilitary ethics.”
He, therefore, urged the cadets to shun all forms of sharp practices and corruption.
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