The federal government has introduced a new immigration regulation in a bid to address the spate of violence carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen allegedly entering Nigeria from neighbouring countries.
The government has repeatedly claimed that rampaging attacks on farming communities in Benue, Plateau and Kaduna States among others, were carried out by Fulani herdsmen said to hail from countries like Niger Republic and Chad.
Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd) at the presentation of the immigration regulations in Abuja on Monday stated that it was designed to ensure the protection of Nigeria’s borders.
Dambazau stated that the new immigration regulations would also help in tackling trans-national crimes by facilitating a collaborative effort with the Interpol.
The minister listed features of the new regulations to include temporary permit, visa on arrival, entry for business purposes and immigrants register among others.
“This regulation will be able to enhance the ECOWAS decision on trans-border movement which has been since 1998 but has not been implemented. We are working on that. As you know the issue of herdsmen and farmers clashes is not just a local issue, it is an issue that has wider regional implications because ECOWAS once recognised free movement across the borders,” Dambazau said.
In his remarks at the event, Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede said that until May 21, 2015 when the revised Immigration Acts was enacted, his agency operated with the 1963 Act “which was not only obsolete but grossly inadequate to contain unfolding migratory realities.”
According to him, aside providing a legal framework for effective implementation of the Act 2015, the revised document consolidated all existing Immigration Regulations.
Punch reports that the legal adviser to the ministry of Interior, Adebola Odugbesan said the new immigration regulations had adjusted the maximum fine for breach of immigration rules earlier capped at N100 (as stipulated in the 1963 Immigration act), to N1 million.