Written by Judd Leonard Okafor
Senate may today begin considering an internal report into Nigeria’s Immigration Bill that could change immigration laws for the first time in 52 years.
An amendment of the Immigration Act, which has been in force since 1963, had passed through the House of Representatives, but the Senate is hoping to conclude an accelerated passage before the parliament winds down by May 29.
The report, submitted by committee chairman Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, makes several provisions to modernise Immigration Service and reposition it to cope with migration challenges of the 21st century.
The amendment also considers changes in visa policy, with hopes of including issuance on arrival for frequent travellers. It also wants to domesticate United Nations protocols against smuggling of migrants, according to Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who moved motion for the amendment.
He argued in his motion that the 1963 Immigration Act had become obsolete and unable to meet the demands of modern migration management. “The Act does not contemplate certain immigration activities and offences as we have in modern times,” he said.
“The 1963 Immigration Act also failed to establish a veritable tool for attracting foreign direct investment into the country.
“The Immigration Bill seeks to achieve a balance between facilitation of migration for legitimate purposes and create a better platform for Nigeria to realize the developmental benefits of migration while effectively preventing and controlling irregular migration, including the attendant trans-border crimes,” he said.
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