One of the aliens from Niger Republic who simply gave his name as Amadu has vowed to return to Nigeria despite his deportation.
Said he: “I am from the Republic of Niger. I came in through Kebbi State. I came on my own. I always pass through there because no one will stop you. I do not have the passport. I will still find my way back when they throw me out.”
He was one of the 57 irregular immigrants from Niger Republic, deported yesterday by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Lagos Command.
Parading some of the irregular immigrants, Comptroller of Immigration, Mr Rasheed Odupeyin, who is in charge of the Command, said the 57 were among the 92 suspected illegal immigrants arrested during the raid by the police over the weekend and handed over to them on Monday.
He said the suspects were arrested in a joint operation between state police command and the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Offenses at the weekend from various parts of the state.
The police in response to the recent arrest of some foreigners who had links with Boko Haram, ordered the arrest and screening of all illegal immigrants in Nigeria especially from Chad.
Odupeyin, however, said that he did not know how police got the suspects, adding that “it was the police that raided and handed them over to us.
I am sure that they must have screened them and kept those who committed offence in the police custody for interrogation.
“They brought them here on Monday, so we had to screen them and send them back to their countries. We feed them and along the line they might fall sick, so we have to be responsible for that again.
The NIS boss also confirmed that no weapon was found on anyone but he cannot say whether the suspects had link with a terrorist group or not. Odupeyin stated that of the 92, 17 were found to be after thorough screening and the service would return them to police for further investigation to ascertain their culpability or otherwise.
One of the suspects who hails from the Republic of Niger, who simply gave his name as Amadu, claimed that he came to Lagos from Mali through border town of Kamba, in Kebbi state without having any criminal record.
The suspect who admitted that he has no document claimed to be a water vendor in Surulere.
He said, “I am from the republic of Niger. I came in through Kebbi state. I came on my own.
“I always pass through there because no one will stop you.
“I sell borehole water to people. I live in Surulere. I do not have passport. I will still find my way back when they throw me out.
“I am not a Boko haram member, I am afraid of them.”
Another suspected irregular immigrant, Musa Abdul who claimed he is from Segu in Mali, said he came into Nigeria through Cotonu and that he is documented.
“They asked me for my passport which I gave them. I sell ice cream in Nigeria.
“I came into this country with my passport but when police caught me I had no passport on me. I have explained to them that my passport is at home but they refused.
“I came to Nigeria in 2009 and in 2012; I left to see my family and returned early this year.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro has disclosed that over 20,000 illegal immigrants have been deported from Nigeria, adding that 274 of these aliens were sent packing to their respective countries in the recent times.
The Minister disclosed this in Kano, while emphasizing the concern of the Federal Government over the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders against the background of the present security challenges in the country.
Also the Department of State Services (DSS), said yesterday in Lagos it impounded a lorry-load of foreigners moving into the metropolis from the northern part of the country.
The 25 suspected illegal aliens including the vehicle that conveyed them were handed over to the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service by the officials from the Department of the State Services.
A source at the DSS told Daily Sun that due to security situation in the country the DSS took it upon themselves to restrict movement of suspected people by searching their vehicles and asking some vital questions.
The source said they would impound any suspected vehicle and invite the occupants for interrogation.
If SSS found out they were illegal aliens from Niger, Mali or Chad, they would hand them over to the NIS for deportation.