The Nigeria Immigration Service said it has arrested two Indians and turned back seven Cameroonians without proper documentation for entering the country illegally.

During the screening of 444 Indian nationals evacuated from Nigeria through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos, the two Indians — both male — were intercepted, the NIS Lagos Airport Comptroller Abdullahi Usman said at a briefing on Saturday.

“During the screening, the culprits were discovered to have entered Nigeria through the land border and had visa-on-arrival application approval which they failed to present to Immigration at the border,” Mr Usman said.

According to Nigeria Immigration rules, the two unnamed suspects who are 32 and 29 years old will be charged as deterrent to others, the official added.

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The men had illegally found their way to Nigeria via Cotonu, Benin Republic, where they spent a month on their passports as indicated by the Beninese stamp, dated February 9. They allegedly failed to present themselves at the border for immigration checks.

This was at a time when countries were considering banning foreign flights to prevent the spread of the latest pandemic of coronavirus.

The other seven migrants — Cameroonians — who attempted to enter the country by boat along Ikot Obong Creek in Cross River State’s Akpabuyo local government were refused entry and turned back to their country.

While before the pandemic Nigeria had shut down its land borders to curb smuggling and illegal arms infiltration, the measure does not impact the movement of people with proper documentation into the nation.

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The Comptroller-General, NIS, Muhammad Babandede, cautioned migrants not to breach immigration laws in transit or destination countries. “avoid sanctions that may result into stopping them from coming to Nigeria or payment of fees chargeable depending on the gravity of the offence committed and what the law stipulates for any of such offence.”

In order to frustrate the attempts of illegal migrants, Mr Babandede instructed the border commands to intensify patrol and reconnaissance along the flanks, creeks, waterways and inroads.

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