As the forthcoming 2023 general elections draw near, several government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have started working towards ensuring that the Federal Government conducts free and fair elections in both February and March 2023. As part of this concerted effort, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has seized more than 6,000 voter cards and Nigeria’s national identity cards from foreigners in a clampdown across the country. The clampdown is one of the steps that the NIS employed to make sure that foreigners are not allowed to vote in the forthcoming elections.
The service also revealed that plans are underway to close the borders during the elections as well as to continue to mop both the voter cards and the national identity cards from non-Nigerians. The Comptroller-General of NIS, Isah Idris, spoke at a one-way retreat, which was organized in Abuja on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, for all state comptrollers in preparation for the smooth conduct of the general elections. During this retreat, he disclosed that the arrested foreigner caught with two important documents reserved for only citizens of Nigeria have been deported.
The identity cards were intercepted mostly in border states.
Idris further explained that the voter cards and national IDs were intercepted across 21 states, mostly in border states because the surveillance in the areas have stepped up by men and officers of the NIS. Meanwhile, the comptroller-general used the occasion to brief the press. He noted that non-Nigerians are not permitted to vote. It is for this cause that the agency is taking necessary measures to ensure that arrested foreigners are eased out of country to prevent them from having anything to do with Nigeria’s elections.
He said that the general election is an opportunity for Nigerians to showcase our proficiency in border management and intelligent gathering experiences. This is because of the importance that the Federal Government attaches to elections in general and in particular, the 2023 general elections. The 2023 presidential election ends the eight-year tenure of the present administration and by extension, marks 24 years of uninterrupted return to democracy in our dear country. The FG is also aware of and concerned about predictions that the disintegration of Nigeria is at hand.
Idris commended various command comptrollers who caught the foreigners.
Comptroller Idris commended the various command comptrollers who worked on easing out the illegal migrants in their commands. He further said that this period calls for the highest level of security awareness among all personnel and any act of compromise will be treated as an act of sabotage against Nigeria’s national security. Giving a breakdown of the seized items, he revealed that 3,823 national identity cards and 2,381 voter cards were seized by the NIS.
He disclosed to the press that the NIS has reached out to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to delete the documentation of the imposters in its database to prevent them from getting another ID card. He noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be contacted to remove their names from its register. He said the service has introduced an electric border management surveillance where it uses technology to monitor activities at the borders of the country for efficiency and better protection of the nation’s borders.
Borders will be closed as usual during the next elections.
While noting that borders are usually closed during the elections to avoid incursion by foreigners and interruptions meant to destabilize the process, Idris said the same will be done during the next elections on the orders of the president. This is a necessary step because several political parties have been accused of renting foreigners and fast-tracking their voter cards in order to inflate the number of votes that their candidates received. It is quite easier in the northern part of Nigeria because majority of the foreigners also speak Hausa, the predominant language there.
Nigeria Immigration Service: Website