Dr Benoy Berry
To drive the nation’s ease of doing and prevent unscrupulous foreigners, and their Nigerian collaborators from perpetrating crimes, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has created more centres for Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC).
The Chairman of CONTEC GLOBAL, the technical partner to NIS on CERPAC project, Dr Benoy Berry, said the decision of the Federal Government to increase the number of CERPAC centres to almost all the 36 states has frustrated the nefarious activities of unscrupulous foreigners and their Nigerian collaborators.
Berry spoke in a chat with journalists to mark the one year of commissioning the centres in Abuja, adding that the issuance of fake residence permits and aliens’ cards as well as scamming of genuine expatriates seeking to engage in fruitful ventures in Nigeria had reduced.
According to him, the newly introduced ‘Know Your Immigration Status’, a new technology-base innovation by CONTEC for expatriates to authenticate the status of their CERPAC in Nigeria, has created a safety barrier between touts and middlemen who, hitherto, took advantage of foreigners. He added that company also upgraded its facility at various international airports with the deployment of latest super field verification station card scanners and sophisticated data capture with bio-metric equipment to check illegal entry with fake resident permits and visas.
Berry conducted the 16-member ECOWAS Heads of Immigration Services, on a visit to the Nigeria CERPAC facility. He said: “The heads of immigration in ECOWAS States were impressed with the state of the art equipment and have endorsed the establishment a Migration Training Academy and similar card issuance model for ECOWAS states, as part of measures to effectively manage migration and emerging trends associated with movement of persons across borders.”
Speaking on how this could improve immigration services in Nigeria and African states, he said: “Nigeria and most African countries need to evolve smart ways of nipping security threats in their countries through identity manipulation and theft.”
Berry said this could only be achieved through the adoption and deployment of smart technologies. “Smart technology remains the best means of identifying and stamping out perpetrators of terrorism and other crimes that threaten nations like Nigeria.”
He said the Nigerian model, if adopted by other ECOWAS member states would ensure uniformity, and enhanced security within the sub-region and Africa as a whole.Previously, only eight centres issued the CERPAC, but its decentralisation saw additional 28 centres across Nigeria that issue the card, making a total of 35 centres.Currently, only Borno and Yobe states are without CERPAC centres due to the lingering insecurity situations there.
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