By Hillary Asemota
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has expressed the readiness of the Nigerian government to cooperate fully with India Immigration authorities on the stoppage of the use of fake Nigerian passports to travel into India.
Aregbesola, gave this assurance in his office, over the weekend while receiving Mr. Gangadharan Balasubramanian, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, who was on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.
According to the Minister, Nigeria will ever remain grateful to the Government and people of India for her support to Nigeria during Nigeria’s anti-colonial struggle that led to her Independence.
The Minister pledged full cooperation of the Federal Government with India, through the Nigeria Immigration Service, to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous persons and syndicates involved in fraudulent procurement of fake Nigerian travelling documents to enter India illegally.
He called for closer collaboration with the India government through provision of useful information and intelligence reports that will assist in unmasking those involved and their modus operandi with a view to getting them arrested to face the full weight of the law.
On issue of some mariners caught on a ship, accused of illegal activity, the Minister said the Governmet will prefer that the judicial process run its course; even though he will try his best to see if the issue could still be handled on humanitarian ground.
The Minister made it abundantly clear that Nigeria frowns at all illegalities, and will not condone procurement of fake visas by individuals in order to gain false entry into another country.
Ogbeni Aregbesola however, implored the High Commissioner for technical assistance through scholarships and professional courses/trainings as part of partnership co-operation that will enhance the performance of it’s paramilitary agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), which is a civil protection Corps that responds to emergencies as well as complement the Police in maintaining law and order.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner who lauded the cordial relations existing between Nigeria and India, promised to explore more areas of co-operation that will further strengthen the relation between the two friendly countries.
The High Commissioner later disclosed that already, seven agencies of government including the Nigeria Immigration Service are currently undergoing relevant courses in India as demonstration of Partnership support to Nigeria. The Indian envoy also thanked the Hon Minister for his warm reception.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, commended the High Commissioner for his visit and reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to achieve improved service and efficient service delivery through investment in capacity building for the Ministry’s staff and agencies.
Signed: Afonja Fatai Ajibola
DD (Press & Public Relations