President Muhammadu Buhari has once again come under caustic criticism over the directive to grant illegal migrants free citizenship in Nigeria amidst the storm of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping and other criminal upsurge in the country. National Daily learned that several stakeholders in Nigeria have expressed perturbation over electronic registration and the six months amnesty President Buhari was said to have approved for all illegal migrants in the country at a time that the federal government is contending with diverse crimes, essentially, in the north east, north west and north central which are gradually being exported to the southern part of the Nigeria from the north, some of which have been attributed to certain illegal migrants in Nigeria.
The stakeholders,National Daily further learned, also raised suspicion that the RUGA project is predetermined to enlarge the Fulani population in Nigeria, noting that the federal government at the early stage of the Fulani herdsmen invasion of rural communities in many states of the federation, was giving excuses that the perpetrators of the attacks were migrants from some West African countries, cited Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad, etc. and not those residents in Nigeria. Apparently, the federal government already has notable population of this set of migrant in the country, which the stakeholders argue would worsen Nigeria’s security crisis.
National Dailygathered that President Muhammadu Buhari being represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had last Friday revealed the approval of e-registration for illegal aliens in Nigeria. “It is on this note, therefore, that I am declaring a six-month amnesty period for illegal migrants already in the country to submit themselves to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for the purpose of this registration.
“The registration will be carried out without any payment or penalties. I’m enjoining all migrants staying in Nigeria whether regularly or otherwise, to take advantage of the amnesty window to register with the NIS,” the President was cited to have said.
However, reports indicated that the Nigeria Immigration Service admitted the registration of irregular migrants and not illegal migrants which the President specified.
The image maker of the Service, Deputy Comptroller of Immigration (DCI), Sunday James, was said to have explained: “It is not illegal migrants; it is irregular migrants across the country we are registering. What we are doing now is to register every non-Nigerian.
“People are trying to misconstrue this directive by Mr. President. People should stop giving ethnic colouration to good plans by government. It is good for Nigeria. At least, it would help in our security situation, governance and planning.”
However, the Publicity Secretary of the Middle Belt Forum, Isuwa Dogo, was said to have remarked that the e-registration could worsen the security situation in the country in encouraging the suspected criminal activities of some of the illegal immigrants, making reference to the mass killings in Zamfara State before the federal government expelled all illegal gold miners from the state.
Dogo was cited to have cautioned: “If anybody thinks he or she is defending any particular ethnic group in the face of serious security challenges we are going through, the north would be the first region the illegal immigrants would wipe off before any damage is done to the southern part.
National Daily learned also that the national chairman of African Democratic Congress, Chief Ralph Nwosu, stated: “We do not expect the ruling party and Buhari to use presidential fiat to grant illegal immigrants citizenship of this country just because of their selfish, parochial and political agenda. This programme is definitely going to have dire consequences in the future. Nigeria is still struggling to address the issue of its diversity, yet someone is talking of adding more illegal immigrants? I doubt if it will be of any advantage to us.”
Afenifere publicity scribe, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, had also noted: “The registration of migrants will not force the government to enforce the law against criminal herdsmen/terrorists, which the government is not doing at the moment. The exercise cannot make the government to stop acting as the media office of Miyetti Allah. There is no level of registration that will make Nigeria a safe place if the government is not run to protect all citizens as against special interests.”