The Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Niger State Command, Mr. Samuel Shima Nongo, has said that the service has been properly repositioned to handle migration management in line with international best practises.
He said this was demonstrated by being the first African country to key into the latest international reforms on travel documents and the service's recent emergence as a four-time winner of the best performing agency of government in ease of doing business as rated by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.
The comptroller, who stated this at the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the service held at the Hall of Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna, explained that the Nigeria Immigration Service started its journey as a department extracted from the Nigeria Police in 1958.
According to him, it was later established as an agency of government by an act of parliament in 1963, adding that in 1992, it was given paramilitary status as a result of some structural reforms.
The service, he noted, has over the years continued to witness further reforms both structurally and operationally, stating that in the last decade, it has witnessed robust reforms in the legal framework, embraced information technology as the driver of its operations, and built the capacity of its personnel to enable them to contain the challenges associated with migration management.
The 60th Anniversary celebration, according to the state comptroller, was an occasion deliberately designed to commemorate the journey so far as well as mark the significant milestones achieved within this period.
He pointed out that Nigeria Immigration Service was the lead agency in migration management, stressing that it was important to note that migration management was the business of government at all levels as well as all citizens.
"Terrorism and kidnapping are crimes that are alien to us, but today they have permeated our societies because they are trans-border crimes.
"Government at all levels must invest in migration management to forestall or at least minimise trans-border crimes.
"The citizens too must change their orientation and stop harbouring irregular migrants because of the dangers it portends," he asserted.
Comptroller Samuel Nongo, while acknowledging the support of the Niger State Government at all times, appealed to the Governor to look into the state security architecture with a view to bringing all security agencies on board in tackling the menace of insecurity bedeviling the state.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Niger State Council Comrade Abu Nmodu, had emphasised the need for stronger synergy and collaboration between the officers of the state Motor Vehicle Administration Agency and NUJ to guarantee effective dissemination of activities of the organisation.
Comrade Abu Nmodu stated this when he led members of his executives on a courtesy visit to the Acting Executive Director, Dr. Mohammed Danladi Bako, in his office in Minna, the state capital.
The chairman, who commended the ED for his commitment to duty, however, advised him to always avail himself of the services of NUJ to adequately publicise the activities of the organisation.
He called for effective collaboration between the organisation and the media and assured him of the continuous support of journalists to enable him to achieve his set objectives.
While responding, Dr. Mohammed Bako expressed his appreciation to the leadership of the union for the visit and promised to return the visit at the appropriate time.
He said the state Motor Vehicle Administration Agency has the capacity to generate about Three Billion Naira (N3b) annually as revenue if its potentials were utilised maximally, adding that due to inadequate utilisation of the potentials, the agency now generates about Five Hundred Million (N500m) annually.
He called on the state government to provide the organisation with a conducive working environment, patrol vehicles, equipment, ICT, training of personnel, and the implementation of a separate salary scale for staff to motivate them instead of the present Grade Level system, as obtained in other paramilitary organisations, to enable the agency to realise its goals.
Dr. Danladi Bako also revealed that the agency was understaffed, with a staff strength of only One Hundred and Fifty (150) personnel, which he said was grossly inadequate and called for more funding by the government to achieve the set objectives.
He listed some of the mandates of the agency, which include registration and testing of vehicles and persons, licencing of vehicles, ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles, and issuance of hackney permits to motorists.
The executive director then appealed to journalists to assist by sensitising the people on the importance of obtaining vehicle particulars and compliance with traffic rules and regulations.