By Abiodun Nejo
The Nigerian Immigration Service has bemoaned the unnecessary deaths and hardships facing Nigerians attempting to travel outside the country through illegal means.
The Comptroller, NIS Ekiti State Command, Ademola Abdulrashed, who said Nigerians could travel abroad for reasons best known to them, advised that such must be “safe, orderly and regular”.
Abdulrashed, who spoke in Ado Ekiti on Friday during the grand finale of the three-day celebration of the 60th anniversary of NIS, with the theme, “Enhancing seamless regular migration”, said, “This Japa syndrome is a big challenge to those enrouting illegal ports of exit in the quest for greener pasture.”
He lamented that many of our youths die in the Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean Sea and so on which does not worth it, adding, “From available data from International Organisation for Migration, at least 1,200 Nigerians have died while trying to migrate through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in the year 2023 alone.”
“For those who survive, the dream of reaching their desired destination quickly becomes a mirage, some spend several months, even years in cells abroad for irregular migration, some are taken hostage by pirates who rob, maim and sometimes rape the female ‘japaists’.
“From the foregoing, Nigerians willing to ‘Japa’ are advised to reach out to any of our offices nationwide for necessary information and guidelines” to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration, he said.
The Comptroller said the NIS had in the last 60 years gone through a series of transformations taking the country from the analogue years to the digital era.
Abdulrashed added, “NIS has achieved a lot within these years in different areas of operations ranging from issuance of travel documents such as (passport, visa and residence permit), border management, migration management, national security and several others.”
He lauded the acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Caroline Adepoju, for deeming it necessary to celebrate the 60th anniversary of NIS with a funfair.