The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has stressed the need to strengthen the country’s immigration service to address illegal cross-border movement.
Mr Malami disclosed this on Friday in Abuja when the Coalition of Integrity Political Parties, CIPP, visited his office to congratulate him on his reappointment as minister.
While speaking on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, he said that the immigration services should be overhauled to profile people travelling out of Nigeria and checkmate illegal immigration.
The minister described the situation in South Africa as unfortunate, saying that it bordered on foreign policies and immigration issues in the African continent, since other nationals, aside Nigerians, were also affected.
He said that strengthening the immigration services would help to account for Nigerians in foreign countries, including South Africa.
Mr Malami described the habit of going through the Mediterranean Sea and deserts by some people, in their bid to travel out of the country, as illegal and unfortunate.
The AGF urged the youth to quit crossing the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara deserts in the quest to seek greener pasture.
“This is very important because by now, we should have been able to know who and who are in South Africa to defend the helpless and hapless Nigerians.
“There is no greener pasture anywhere than our country. With farmlands everywhere, we must work harder rather than look for cheap means to migrate from the country where nobody drives us.
“This is one of the problems I see when our people travel abroad illegally, which is now posing challenge; if they were to be here, we would have been able to account for their whereabouts.
“It is sad to know that some of them ran out illegally through the Mediterranean Sea to Libya and other countries, which is posing big problem,’’ he said
Malami noted that an overhaul of the nation’s immigration services would help to promote documentation of travellers through the country’s airports and land borders.
On Nigeria’s withdrawal from the World Economic Forum, he said that the Federal Government’s position might not have been based on the South African situation, but on resolving the security situation amicably.
“Some of our citizens are in South Africa and we did not know; now that they have challenges, we need to look at our foreign policy to see how we can best handle it.
“Not that Nigeria is boycotting the forum because there is a situation in South Africa. I do not think so,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Yakubu Shendam, the National Spokesperson of CIIP and Chairman of New Generation Party, said that they were at the ministry to congratulate the minister and support the fight against corruption.
Shendam described the fight against corruption as one of the key agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as well as the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“We believe that the reappointment of Malami as the AGF and Minister of Justice will fast track the criminal justice system in the country.
“Nigeria cannot continue suffering like this because of looting; people celebrate criminals because of free money but this government is coming to sanitise the system.
“It is our belief and hope that we have credible government and have politicians who aspire to win elections with the cardinal goals of entrenching good governance.
“If the president is already doing that, why will we, as political party leaders across Nigeria, not give him one hundred percent support and encourage the minister too?
“We need to start taking actions to reclaim the looted money and invest it in education, road construction and healthcare, among others, to move the nation forward,” Shendam said.
The high point of the event was the presentation of a congratulatory card to the minister.