The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has registered no fewer than 4,377 migrants under the ongoing e-migrant registration.
NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, made this known at a news conference on the successes recorded of the project by the organisation.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 12 inaugurated the Migrant e-Registration and Data Processing Centres at NIS Headquarters in Abuja.
The president while inaugurating the centre declared six-month amnesty to migrants who had stayed in Nigeria beyond 90 days without resident permit.
He said that the period would enable the migrants to register with the NIS to avoid having challenges with immigration laws.
While speaking to newsmen, the comptroller-general said that it was the job of the service to register any person who was not a citizen of Nigeria.
“The law says if you have stayed or are going to stay for a period of 90 days, you are expected to register.”
Babandede who said that the registration would end on Jan. 11, 2020, said that the amnesty would affect only those who were in the country when the amnesty was given.
“It means that after the President’s inauguration, if one has been in Nigeria and you are staying irregularly, not that you have committed an offence, the President has given you amnesty up to January to register.”
He cleared the misconception that the amnesty was allowing migrants to be citizens of Nigeria.
“This is not so. Citizenship is entirely a constitutional matter. You are not going to be a citizen of Nigeria with the amnesty.
“The amnesty does not give you amnesty against crime; it does not give you amnesty to stay when you are not qualified,” Babandede said.
He further stated that majority of persons who had registered were staying in the country illegally.
The comptroller-general disclosed that out of the 2, 175 registered at the headquarters, 1, 194 were staying irregularly.
While stating that the registration had been rolled out in Delta, Oyo, Kwara, Ogun and Rivers, Babandede called for high level support from state governors and traditional institutions to achieve greater results.
He said that for the migrant e- registration, the data of the migrants would be forwarded to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to develop a special number for them.
“This will be called Migrant Identification Number (MIN),” he said.
Coordinator of the project, Aliyu Bauchi noted that the exercise had recorded tremendous success since the flag-off of the project in July.
“So far, we have achieved huge success with migrants responding to our call to come forward and register, and get them captured on our central database.
“The Abuja centre is the pilot site. It has been replicated in all the 40 centres we have across the federation,” he said.
The coordinator said that on the expiration of the amnesty period next year, the service would start enforcement process, to ensure that all migrants registered.
Some of the migrants who spoke to NAN commended the Federal Government for the gesture.
Mr Felix Agossou, a Togolese who was born in Nigeria more than 40 years ago said that “Nigeria is a peaceful place where one can stay comfortably.”
Mrs Christine Dossavi, a citizen of Benin Republic said the process was stress-free.
NAN reports that the registration is a free exercise for migrants who have stayed more than 90 days in the country without resident permit.