The Nigeria Immigration Service in Cross River States has arrested nine Cameroonians and four Nigerians for illegal migration through the waterways and for contravening the Federal Government stay-at-home order.
The NIS Comptroller in the state, Okey Ezugwu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines of border inspection to ensure compliance on Thursday in Calabar.
Ezugwu said the suspects were arrested at Mfum border in Etung and Ikang border post in Bakassi Local Government Area.
He said the suspects were arrested by officials of the NIS on patrol across border areas in the state in the early hours of Thursday.
According to him, the suspects were arrested while trying to find their way through the waterways to enter into the country.
He explained that eight of the Cameroonians were arrested at the Mfum border in Etung, while one was arrested at Ikang border alongside four Nigerians.
“Before this kind of movement can take place, there must be connivance, especially with the local communities,” the NIS boss said.
He appealed to communities to help the NIS in policing their borders, adding that whatever affects one Nigerian at this period affects the whole country.
Ezugwu insisted that he would take up the matter with the traditional ruler of Ajarsor in Mfum border to ensure that such route was not used again for illegal migration.
He said: “We went on inspection of some of our formations so that we can ensure total compliance with the Federal Government’s order on border closure in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working on intelligence reports of possible movements in some of the beaches and jetties.
“As you are aware, we have a lot of creeks in the state.
“We are not ruling out the possibility of some persons wanting to beat government agencies and use the waterways.
“That is why we are patrolling to ensure total compliance of the directives.
“Again, we want to ensure that foreigners do not have access to Nigeria at this time because of the COVID-19.
“At this critical point, we don’t want any movement so that we can contain whatever we have here.”
The Comptroller said the service would ensure that nobody comes into the country or travels out.
Ezuwgu said the NIS gunboat was operational at sea to ensure that no foreigner or any Nigerian was allowed entry or exit out of the country.