The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it has launched a gun-boat in Cross River to enhance maritime patrol and check cases of illegal migration and child theft across the sea.
Mr Felix Uche, the State Comptroller of NIS, said this on Tuesday during the launch of the boat at the Nigerian Navy Jetty in Calabar.
Uche said that the boat was procured by the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Mohammed Babandede and distributed to all commands that have maritime boundary with other countries to enhance sea patrols.
According to him, 16 NIS personnel were trained by officials of the Nigerian Navy on maritime operations and patrols for a period of two months.
‘‘The launch of this boat will help us to patrol the water ways by ensuring that illegal migrants do not come into Nigeria through the sea without valid papers.
‘‘In the past few weeks, the Navy has arrested some boats with illegal migrants and handed them over to us. After profiling, we saw that majority of them were coming into Nigeria illegally.
‘‘More so, now that we have crisis in Cameroon; this gun-boat will help us to reduce the large illegal movements of Cameroonians into Nigeria,’’ he said.
He thanked the naval authorities for the training of the NIS personnel, adding that the synergy between both forces was cordial and rewarding.
Speaking, the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, said that the Nigerian Navy held in high esteem the issue of synergy.
Nwagu explained that the navy had tried at all levels to partner with sister agencies in the provision of security for all Nigerians.
He maintained that the navy had enjoyed the partnership with the NIS in the state, noting that the NIS personnel were well behaved during the training.
‘‘I am not in doubt that men of the NIS benefited from the training they have undergone in the past two months by the navy.
‘‘One boat is not enough by our standard operating procedures. As you go out at sea, each time you need our assistance in ensuring that the migration laws are upheld, the navy will support you.
‘‘We are ready anytime to partner with the NIS because the navy value synergy. Your boat will be secured and made available at any time you need it for operation,’’ he said.