The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) said the Federal Government has approved that all Africans could come to Nigeria without a visa from January 2020.
The Comptroller General, NIS, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, disclosed this at the inauguration of the Africa–Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The European border and Coast guard Agency also known as Frontex is an agency of European Union (EU) tasked with border control of the European Schengen Area, in coordination with border and coast guard of Schengen area member states.
“The announcement would be made soon by the President of the Federation.
”But we cannot succeed without a tool like AFIC. This tool is key if we want to implement an effective free movement across our border.
“The tool is actually coming at the right time. AFIC would help African countries especially Nigeria that want to open its border for all Africans to enter at will. And now that tool is available, it would make the work easier for us,” he said.
Babandede said that it was important to acknowledge the different forces in Nigeria curbing crime and insecurity.
“But our duty is unique and you may not see it as it is in Chad, Benin or Cameroon.
“The essence is that we are very keen and we have been working with the EU for a long time. Frontex is in charge of border before they got another responsibility called coast guard which is also very keen to Africa especially checking member state of ECOWAS,” he said.
The CGI commended the EU and Frontex delegates for establishing the risk analysis centre, adding that analysis could not be done physically without analytical system.
“I was opportune to be at the Frontex headquarters, and I came with useful tools which are for border and control centre.
” This has brought about the building of border and control centre which will be inaugurated next year. So the analytical system from Frontex, border control system and even mobility would all be in one place,” he said.
Babandede assured the delegates that the service would maintain the equipments and called for more training of officers.
“We assure you of the site maintenance if we have a technical know-how of maintaining this system. We have done that with IOM very well.
”All the equipment donated for e-Migrants registration are already been installed by all our trained officers,” he said.
Roman Fantini, the head of sector, Frontex, assured the immigration service of training the officers as requested to help maintain the system and usage.
Fantini said that AFIC was not a new development as it started nine years ago and had since grown to what it was today.
He commended the EU and NIS for collaborating to ensure the security of the country.
Ms. Eleni Zerzelidou, EU head of delegates, appreciated the immigration service for beefing up the collaboration by taking a step further to ensure border opening for all Africans by 2020.
Zerzelidou added that the EU would continually support the service in delivering its mandate and ensuring the safety of the country.
She said that the long-standing partnership with NIS resulted in border management such as NIS border management strategy, MIDAS, among others.
“But we believe Frontex would do more to compliment all we have done so far in assisting the service and the county at large,” she said.