The Nigeria Immigration Service has apprehended two accomplices of Ahmed Al Assir, a Lebanese terrorist, who obtained a Nigerian visa in Beruit, Lebanon, in August, 2015.
Assir had been on the wanted list of the Lebanese security forces.
Martin Abeshi, Comptroller-General of Immigration, who disclosed the arrest to journalists while responding to questions on Wednesday in Abuja, said Assir’s accomplices were nabbed in Kano and had been handed over to the National Security Adviser for further investigation.
The Lebanese was arrested at the airport while attempting to visit Cairo, Egypt, enroute to Nigeria on a forged Palestinian passport.
The terrorist, who was of Palestinian extraction, had undergone surgery to alter his appearance so as to evade arrest by security operatives for involvement in the death of 17 Lebanese solders.
His accomplices were arrested the moment the NIS learnt that the terrorist was visiting Nigeria.
The CG also stated that over 200 individuals had returned their diplomatic passports, and called on former officials holding the document to return them forthwith.
Abeshi threatened to publish the names of those holding on to the passport illegally, if they did not voluntarily return them.
He said, “The Immigration service did not issue the visa to the Lebanese terrorist because we don’t have immigration officers at the embassy. Maybe the visa was issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials or some other officials, but the moment we learnt about the incident, we identified the people the suspect was coming to visit in Kano and they were handed over to the NSA.”
The NIS boss stated that he had prepared a document on border control and security management which would be presented to the Federal Government for approval and implementation.
Described the nation’s border control method as archaic, the CG said he planned to deploy sensors and security cameras across Nigerian international borders.
He explained that walls may be erected at volatile border areas, but noted that building physical barriers along the nation’s expansive borders was not feasible.
He however, warned his men against passport racketeering, stressing that the new Immigration Act 2015 provides for penalties including prison terms for officers who abused the passport process.
Abeshi, who also reiterated that his administration would not condone extortion and other sharp practices, noted that the anti-corruption policy of the Federal Government would be fully adhered to by the service.