It all started at number 27 Kakawa Street, off Broad Street in Lagos. In October 1962, two years after Nigeria’s Independence, pioneer Immigration Officers drawn from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) were enlisted into the then Immigration Department. It will intrigue many to realize that what is currently Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) used to be a Department in the NPF working from a little corner.
With the beginning of autonomy and the need to reposition the public help to meet the elements of post-provincial Nigeria, the Federal Government extracted the unit from the Police and set it under the immediate oversight of the Ministry of Internal Affairs then, at that point directed by late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, GCFR. An assigned Chief Federal Immigration Officer (CFIO), Mr Johnson Harrison was named as the pioneer head. He moved the Department to Marina in Lagos and started pushing for the order of an applicable legitimate structure to direct the operations.
One year on, the Federal Parliament authorized the Immigration Act 1963 to give Nigeria its first local relocation laws which introduced another time of more extensive and complete migration laws and guidelines. The Act extended the extension and obligations of the Immigration Department to perform obligations past the extent of frontier statutes. With this turn of events, the CFIO saw the need to increase the labor of the Department. Likewise, some staff of the Police and others from the Federal Civil Service were moved to the new Immigration Department.
The Department kept on working under the management of the Internal Affairs Ministry performing obligations like Visa Administration, Regularization (business office), Aliens Control and other various assignments. In 1966, Mr JE Onubogu was delegated the CFIO however his residency was ended at the break out of the common conflict. He was prevailed by Mr Edward Iguda Aleyedeino in 1967.
In 1974, after the conflict, EI Aleyedeino moved the Headquarters to Alagbon Close in Lagos. He pushed for the proceeded with development of the Department until he was prevailed by Alhaji Aliyu Muhammad who turned into the main Director of the Department In 1977 when the classification of the head of Immigration was again changed. A long time later, the ECOWAS Protocol of 1979 on the Free Movement of Persons was marked and the Immigration Department turned into a vital organization to guarantee implementation.
The extension of its obligations and degree strengthened when the 1980 Maitatsine unsettling influence tossed new security difficulties and inquiries on line security. Records had it that the then Director of Immigration, Alhaji Lawal Sambo, when showing up as witness number 31, affirmed accordingly: “notwithstanding terribly deficient staff, there is no arrangement for line watches. Intense convenience, streets and other related issues are limitations on any proposed development program. Presently, the entire Immigration Department has 1,680 staff against a prerequisite of basically 5,000”.
At the finish of the activity, the Hon. Equity Anthony Aniagolu Tribunal of Inquiry in 1981 suggested that the making of a Border Patrol Unit be domiciled with Immigration Department. A few sources asserted that a financial plan of about N11million was endorsed for the Service for the remove from the Border Patrol Unit. As of then, at that point, it was an amazing aggregate nearly contending with the parent Internal Affairs Ministry. Along these lines, a simple office with 1,680 staff and a N11million financial plan had the command to get the boundary of the most crowded country in Africa against unapproved entry.
In 1985, when Mr Muhammad Damulak was the Director of the Immigration Department, the whole wheel of the NIS was rethought with the foundation of the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Services Board (CIPB) sponsored by declaration No.4, changed by pronouncement No. 45 of 1992. Mr Damulak administered the movement of the Immigration Department to its first central command in the new authoritative capital city of Abuja in 1986. Besides, the position to give the Nigeria Passport was moved to the Department in 1988, setting it at standard with peers that up until recently appreciated monetary independence, and turning into an arm-conveying paramilitary agency.
The Immigration Department was renovated and named Nigeria Immigration Service with a CEO assigned Comptroller General of Immigration Service (CGIS). Alhaji Garba Abass turned into the first in 1992. With these turns of events, the NIS accomplished to some degree monetary independence with three Directorates – Administration; Operations; Finance, Account and Technical Services.
Alhaji Sahabi Dange took over as the CGIS in 1996 and directed endeavors to change the Nigeria Passport from a transcribed archive to Machine Readable Passport (MRP). At the point when Dange finished his stewardship, Lady Nwizu was designated and was in office from 2000 to 2004. Alhaji UK Umar then, at that point held forward in an acting limit until January 2005 when Joseph Chukwurah Udeh was named CGIS.
The period of JC Udeh began an IT-based Immigration Service. He spearheaded the e-Immigration project which covered the combination to e-Government entrance, server farm, line the board, identification issuance, visa and faculty records the executives, and e-installment framework. This praiseworthy drive denoted the start of current based start to finish robotization of movement tasks. CJ Udeh moved the NIS base camp to its current area at Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Expressway in Abuja on seventeenth May, 2007. He accomplished movement from the Machine Readable Passport (MRP) to the orchestrated ECOWAS Electronic Smart Passport (e-Passport) dispatched by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on 27th July, 2007.
In 2010, Mrs Rose Chinyere Uzoma was delegated CGIS. In 2012, she got endorsement for the extension of the three Directorates to seven to be specific: Directorate of Human Resource Management; Directorate of Works and Procurement; Directorate of Finance and Account; Directorate of Planning, Research and Statistics. Others were Directorate of Passport and Operations; Directorate of Border Patrol/ECOWAS and African Affairs; Directorate of Investigation, Intelligence and Enforcement. At the point when her residency finished in 2013, Rilwanu Bala Musa mni was designated acting CGIS until July 2013 when David Shikfu Parradang mni became considerable CGIS.
CGI Parradang saw the foundation of the Special Border Corps in 2014 to react to the test of Nigeria’s sweeping fringes. This introduced one more milestone accomplishment in line security since its development in 1982. The first class Border Corps was outfitted with uncommon weakness and important instruments including the All-Terrain Vehicle and Portal Cabins to address the deficiency in facilities and coordinations. The main clump of 1,000 faculty was conveyed to different line areas to reinforce security at the boondocks and further develop successful line policing. David Parradang likewise got the authorization of the Immigration Act 2015.
When the new legislature of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, was confirmed in 2015, Martin Kure Abeshi supplanted Parrandang and drove the Service until Muhammad Babandede, MFR, was designated CGIS fifteenth June, 2016. With the need to execute the arrangements of the new Act, particularly the foundation of the Directorate of Migration, Babandede got endorsement for the extension and rebuilding of the current Directorates from seven to the flow eight – Human Resource Management; Operations; Finance and Account; Planning, Research and Statistics; Passport and other Travel Documents; Border Management; Migration; Investigation and Compliance.
Babandede’s stewardship introduced one more brilliant time of infrastructural upset and improved assistance delivery;12 State Command edifices, 12 Forward Operation Bases, Flag Houses and a cutting edge Technology Building to fill in as Command and Control Center for security in Nigeria were authorized. His residency saw more institutional changes that cut across all circles of NIS tasks and Human Resource matters.
The Passport change designed the polycarbonate Passport with 10-year legitimacy; the Visa change peaked in the distribution and dispatch of the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 (NVP) Document; the Border Management change delivered the National Border Management Strategy 2019-2023. There was likewise the divulging of the Service Dress Code, Code of Conduct for the Service, Electronic Document Management System, among others.
Currently, the Service keeps 8 Directorates, 8 Zonal Offices, 48 Command Offices, 42 Passport Offices, developments in the 5 International Airports and presence in 52 Embassies/High Commissions abroad. In its 58-year venture, the NIS has delivered 3 Chief Federal Immigration Officers (CFIO), 3 Directors of Immigration (DID) and 10 Comptroller Generals (CGIS) who through responsibility and magnanimity changed the Service from a simple office cut out of Nigeria Police Force into a worldwide security outfit.
*Amos Okpu, an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, is NIS Public Relations Officer (PRO)*
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