The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed that some voter cards from certain migrants were recently intercepted and confiscated, warning that “stiff sanctions await any migrant” who attempts to participate in the nation’s electoral process.According to news reports, the Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI), Isah Idris, made this known Wednesday at a meeting with top management staff of the organisation including zonal coordinators, and comptrollers of commands and Formations in Abuja.
Mr Idris, however, refused to give details of the volumes of the cards confiscated and the identity of the alleged culprits.
But he said his men are committed to ensuring peaceful conduct of the elections by adhering strictly to its statutory responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s border lines.
The meeting was an operational briefing given as part of the preparatory activities for the forthcoming general elections in 2023.
In a statement signed by the spokesman of NIS, Amos Okpu, the CGI was said to have reiterated the “government’s commitment to a free and fair electoral process for the 2023 general elections” and charged concerned men and officers of NIS to upscale surveillance activities in all locations including “Border Crossing Points” to ensure successful elections.
Mr Idris also directed the activation and deployment of all the migration management and border security assets of the Service to ensure that ineligible persons particularly migrants are not allowed to participate in the nation’s electoral process.
“To this end, I hereby direct that regular meetings with all the migrants’ communities in the country be intensified to sensitize them on the need for them to stay away from participating in the nation’s electoral process for the 2023 general elections.
“Divisional Immigration Officers (DIOs) across the 774 Local Councils in the country have been directed to deepen surveillance and engagements with the migrant communities in their areas to ensure that no migrant gets involved in the elections,” the CGI noted.
The immigration boss, while stressing the Service’s ethical obligation and commitment to maintain political neutrality in the discharge of statutory duties, said ‘as Para-military Officers, we are prohibited from political partisanship before, during and after the elections.
“Therefore, the Service is seizing the opportunity to sensitize its Personnel through their respective Comptrollers on the need for them to remain apolitical before, during and after the elections as members of the Service.”
He warned all personnel that “any infractions or unprofessional conduct before, during and after the elections will attract severe sanctions.”
The CGI further called for constructive and patriotic engagements among all agencies stressing that synergy and collaboration with stakeholders is an essential ingredients needed to optimally discharge responsibility toward building a better Nigeria of our collective dreams.
Meanwhile, the statement also noted that the CGI led top management to the foundation groundbreaking ceremony of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society (NIMCOS) at the NIS Headquarters, Abuja.
He noted that when the building is completed, it “shall serve as the Administrative Office of the Cooperative Society.”
He also charged the executive of the association to live up to its ideals of improving the welfare of officers and men in line with the welfare thrust of his administration.