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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) was previously part of the Nigeria Police Force until it was separated from the latter agency [the Nigeria Police Force] in 1958. Ever since it was carved out of the Nigeria Police Force, the NIS has experienced a series of reforms. Prior to 1958, the Nigeria Immigration Service was regarded as the Immigration Department. Under the control and leadership of CFIO (Chief Federal Immigration Officer), the Immigration Department was primarily charged with immigration duties. In order to carry out its duties, the Immigration Department took over the Immigration Ordinance of 1958. { History Of Nigeria Immigration Service }.

At the start of operation, the Immigration Department discharged its roles on a low standard and limited operational scope. In the course of achieving the government’s aims and objectives, the Immigration Department adopted a “simple approach’’. At the time, the department couldn’t establish any sections other than the Visa and  Business sections.

In accordance with the implications of an Act of Parliament –identified as Caps 171, Laws of the Federation –the Immigration Department was formally set up on 1st of August 1963. During this period, the Immigration Department was headed by the Director of Immigration. Therefore, the department had previous NPF officers as its first group of officers. Regarded as a body of the Civil Service, the Immigration Department was made a department with jurisdiction and regulation of the FMIA (Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs).

history of Nigeria Immigration Service

history of Nigeria Immigration Service

With a view towards being restructured and reformed, the Immigration Department has been gathering efforts together since it was subject to the control of the FMIA. Meanwhile, it is believed that this will place the department in a rightful position for the formulation and effective management of modern immigration.

Due to the significant changes in its structure, the department [NIS] now caters for sub-regional and regional political alliances alongside other responsibilities. As a result of this, the ECOWAS and African affairs/bilateral division were established. At the same time, the immigration service admitted border patrol management and aliens control as part of its duties. Another added responsibility entrusted to the service is the provision of all kinds of travel documents to Nigerians.

Over the years, the Nigerian Immigration Service has been transformed in a significant fashion that embraces modern technology. Through the introduction of CERPAC (Combined Expatriate Residence Permit), the service has shown the readiness to adopt ICT in discharging its responsibilities. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Immigration Service seems to have advanced tremendously since it began favouring the use of ICT in carrying out operations. One of its most popular trends in this regard is the adoption of online payment for its facilities. The service has modernized this revenue generation method through the use of e-revenue collections and significantly, it has been made a Federal Government policy.

Still On The History Of Nigeria Immigration Service

In 2007, the Nigerian Immigration Service initiated the issuance of machine-readable electronic passports and this marked a great milestone for the service because it made Nigeria one of the world’s first forty-four nations to achieve this feat. Moreover, it made Nigeria the first African country to initiate provision of the e-passport. Luckily, the fact that the Nigerian Immigration Service favours the use of the e-passport has impacted the fight against criminal activities across the Nigerian borders. The e-passport is thought to have impacted this fight in the sense that it comprises the biometric information of anyone holding it. In that case, it would be very easy to detect such a person if he/she is holding unacceptable travel documents or falsifying his/her identity. Under approval from the Federal Government, the Nigerian Immigration Service is committed to the establishment of PKD for use across Nigerian borders.

In great acknowledgment of the Nigerian Immigration Service and its vibrant operational scope, Nigeria has been enrolled into ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization). Significantly, Nigeria is the only country representing the entirety of Africa on the board of ICAO –a worldwide organization regulating the standards for travel documents.

As we speak, e-passport machines are available in all Nigerian states and a number of foreign missions. Also, it is said that efforts have been made to ensure that e-passport machines are provided in all of Nigeria’s foreign missions. Going by the foreign policy of citizen diplomacy –as implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria –the NIS has dispatched its officials to all global regions for the purpose of passport intervention. Meanwhile, this objective is associated with the task of using passport-producing tools in order to process and issue mobile passports to the Nigerian nationals in Diaspora.

As regards ICT development, one more important success the Nigerian Immigration Service has achieved is the creation of an operative and adequately-furnished forensic laboratory which serves as a basis for the surveillance of monetary instruments and travel documents. Also, the NIS has equipped this forensic laboratory with sophisticated personnel who have long undergone local and international training. Notably, this personnel has acquired the expertise required to detect cases of document frauds. Some of the development partners which have partnered with the NIS in achieving the stated objectives are the ECOWAS commission, EU (the European Union) and IOM (the International Organization for Migration).

The Operational (Structure) of the NIS

By virtue of the restructuring conducted on the NIS, the service has had an improved number of Directorates. Formerly, there were just three Directorates but now the service boasts of seven Directorates namely

  • (i) Investigation, Inspectorate/Enforcement
  • (ii) Work and Procurement
  • (iii) Border Patrol, ECOWAS/African Affairs
  • (iv) Planning, Research, and Statistics
  • (v) Finance and Accounts
  • (vi) Human Resources and
  • (vii) Operations/Passport

Currently, the service operates on the backbone of 36 State Commands & Federal Capital Territory as well as 8 zonal offices. Also, its Immigration offices are spread among the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria. Mr. Muhammed Babandede, MFR, the incumbent Comptroller General of the NIS, assumed office in 2016.

The Visa Types Associated with the NIS

There are about seven types of visas associated with the Nigerian Immigration Service and these visas are issued on the basis of Entry Permit. The visas are listed below;

  • Subject to Regularization Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Temporary Work Permit Visa
  • Diplomatic Visa
  • Transit Visa
  • Tourist Visa
  • Direct Transit Visa

That’s all about the history of Nigeria Immigration Service


Tags: history of Nigeria Immigration Service

Updated: March 12, 2018 — 2:13 pm

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