The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, in Lagos has, in the last four months, refused departures to 150 passengers who were about travelling via different airlines.
The 150 Nigerians, it was learnt, were suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
This was made possible through the efforts of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the command which was set up to foil suspected victims of human trafficking.
Many young Nigerian girls have reportedly been trafficked to Europe on the pretence of getting jobs only to fall victims of human traffickers who subject them to psychological and sexual torture.
Abdullahi Musa Usman, the comptroller of Immigration at the Airport, however said officers at the command have beefed up their screening and profiling mechanisms to track suspected victims of human trafficking.
He said the officers are also on the lookout for traffickers. He disclosed on Friday, December 6, 2019, that the 150 people ranged between the ages of 16 and 40 years, saying they were denied boarding because they could not fulfill the requirements “of passing through the control post.”
“They don’t know what they are going out to do where they were going to. We then stopped them, counselled them and they are satisfied that going out there would be a problem for them.”
He said the Service besides counseling them against the suicidal mission observed that many people were falling prey to traffickers because of greed and ignorance.
Speaking with journalists, the Immigration boss said the service has processed over 58,000 visas on arrival for international passengers between January 2019 till date.
Similarly, the service has commenced the implementation of the Migrant Information Data Analysis System, MIDAS, for passengers flying into and out of the country for the first time. Usman said MIDAS was designed by the NIS to ease passengers profiling.
Under the new system, the NIS personnel on duty would capture the 10 fingerprints of the affected travelers while subsequent travels by such passengers will not require them to carry out digital capturing of the 10 fingers except the index fingers.
“All these achievements were made possible by the training we are giving to our officers and personnel on a daily basis,” he added.
Addressing some personnel who were undergoing an in-house training at the Immigration Training Centre at the airport, Assistant Comptroller-General of Immigration, MA Alfa urged them to sit up and justify the huge investment on training by the leadership of the service.
In a related development, Access Bank donated office materials to the command to aid the processing and profiling of passengers.
Victor Etuokwu, the executive director, Retail Banking of Access Bank, said the bank donated the facilities to support the activities of the command, saying the immigration has been efficient in its operations.