Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, has called on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to adequately monitor foreign travellers entering the country in order to prevent the imminent third wave of COVID-19.
Governor Sanwo-Olu gave the charge when he received the Comptroller of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Bauchi Aliyu, at the State House, Alausa.
According to a statement issued by Gboyega Akosile, his Chief Press Secretary, the governor noted that the fresh cases of the virus recorded in Lagos and the Delta variant recorded in the state are negative indices that collide with the influx of foreign travellers into the country.
He stated that some air travellers are nowhere to be found upon their arrival in the country and insisted that Immigration, which has the statutory responsibility of monitoring all movements in and out of the country, should monitor immigrants coming into the country through land, sea and air borders.
The statement read: “Passengers came into the country via Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos but could not be reached for COVID-19 status monitoring by EKOTELEMED because they supplied wrong contact details.
“As the gatekeeper, Sanwo-Olu charged NIS to work with frontline responders stationed at ports of entry across border posts to ensure in-bound travellers adhere to laid down COVID-19 protocols.
“We are monitoring events that may lead to the third wave of COVID-19 in the country and this is why we need to work together with the Nigeria Immigration Service. As the gatekeeper, you have statutory responsibility to work with our frontline health workers to ensure that people that are coming into the country obey our rules and conform with the protocols.
“Nobody is above the law. We have designated some countries as red zones, and this is not discriminatory. We want to be able to monitor anybody coming from countries with high burden of the virus. We want the Immigration Service to play its role so that we can nip the influx of new variants in the bud. We know that the virus is usually imported; we must be vigilant and ensure all protocols and guidelines are strictly observed, especially at airports.
“The Governor urged the Service to ensure passengers coming into the country were duly monitored and accounted for.
“Sanwo-Olu accepted the Comptroller’s proposal for the mop-up of irregular migrants in Lagos, noting that such operations would help improve security in the state and aid the government to identify non-Nigerians working illegally in Lagos.
“The Governor promised continued support and collaboration with the Service in order to make the state safe for investment and living.
Responding, Bauchi was quoted as commending Governor Sanwo-Olu for supporting the NIS, adding that the service would do its very best to check the flow of immigrants into the state.
“Bauchi praised Sanwo-Olu for the State Government’s support for the Service, pledging that the Immigration was ready to partner with the current administration in improving the state’s mega city status.
“The Comptroller also submitted a letter requesting the Governor’s support on logistics and operations,” the statement read.