The Nigerian government has ordered the closure of all land and sea borders with neighbouring countries from midnight today (Thursday) to the midnight of Saturday to allow for a hitch-free presidential poll.
- The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), David Parradang, announced this on Wednesday in Abuja
- Parradang cautioned foreigners resident in Nigeria against coming to vote during the elections
- He also advised embassy officials and community leaders to ask their nationals to keep off polling centres
- The NIS will soon embark on biometric registration of all the ECOWAS and other African citizens resident in Nigeria
- Meanwhile, the Department of State Security has issued security tips for the election period
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, David Parradang, announced the decision in a statement in Abuja. He said immigration personnel had been deployed in land borders to ensure that no illegal migrants entered the country during the election.
The statement by the NIS Public Relations Officer, Emeka Obua, quoted the CG as saying this during a meeting with some embassy officials and leaders of the Economic Community of West African States from Niger Republic, Senegal, Chad, Cameroun Republic, Guinea and Mali.
Parradang cautioned foreigners resident in Nigeria against coming to vote during the elections, adding that any non-Nigerian caught voting would be prosecuted for violating the electoral laws and be jailed.
The CG advised embassy officials and community leaders to ask their nationals to keep off polling centres, stressing that the warning had become necessary to ensure that the existing robust relationship among member-states in the region was not undermined by unnecessary meddlesomeness in the internal electoral affairs of other states.
The statement by the PRO
“The CG announced that effective from midnight March 26 to midnight March 28, 2015, all land and sea borders across the country would be closed to allow for a hitch-free election slated for March 28, 2015.
“He also enjoined the community leaders to advise any of their nationals who is in possession of Nigeria’s Permanent Voter Card, National Identity Card or Passport to surrender same immediately as anyone caught with any of them shall be brought before the law.”
The CG further stated that the NIS would soon embark on biometric registration of all the ECOWAS and other African citizens resident in the country to build a reliable database of all non-Nigerians resident in the country.
According to him, a total of 2,066 irregular migrants, who were rounded up across the country, had been deported.
Meanwhile, the CG has approved the deployment of five Deputy Comptrollers-General and Command-Comptrollers to different parts of the country to monitor the polls.
In a related development, the Department of State Services (DSS) has advised all registered voters to be law abiding and security conscious while exercising their franchise.
In a statement signed by the Spokesperson of the service, Marilyn Ogar, the DSS gave assurances of guaranteed security while asking voters to abide by all stipulated guidelines to ensure peaceful conduct.
A part of the statement reads: “The task of nation building is our collective responsibility; therefore, let us all play our part and shun violence”
Security tips in the statement include:
- Voters should be wary of persons in loose or bulky midriff (chest and back area) clothing, which are inappropriate for the weather
- Look out for unattended baggage, dustbins, strange containers, and other suspicious items.
- All vehicles, motorcycles, tricycles and bicycles must be parked far away from the polling stations.
- Suspicious persons, activities and movements should be promptly reported to security agents
The DSS assured the public that adequate security is guaranteed for all citizens before, during and after the elections, wherever they reside.
The DSS also cautioned “those who spread falsehood or rumours of violence to desist from such acts. Those who intend to foment trouble are hereby warned that there will be no hiding place, as the long arm of the law will fish them out”.