The federal government on Wednesday said it was not taking for granted the recent report of Islamic State (IS) leaders sneaking jihadists into the country from Syria.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, who stated this in Abuja, urged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to be on the alert.
On Monday, a United Kingdom newspaper, The Sun, reported that “leaders of IS are sneaking battle-hardened jihadists from Syria into Nigeria to train terrorists there for possible attacks in Britain.”
The report quoted unnamed sources as saying the strong ties between Nigeria and the UK would make it easier for IS to send its killers to Britain.
“It is feared IS will exploit regular flights between Lagos and London to export more evil to the UK,” the paper said.
Authorities in Nigeria, including the NIS, responded to the report saying they had tightened security at the nation’s international airports and borders.
Mr Dambazau, who spoke at the launch of a curriculum, training manuals and teachers guide for NIS training institutions, said although the government had been prepared before now, all hands must remain on deck.
“You know when information like this comes; you don’t take things for granted whether true or not. It is security information.
“Before now, we get prepared so that everything we are supposed to do security wise is done.
“Such information also raises alarm and we will double our efforts towards that so we don’t take any information for granted,’’ he said.
The minister said with the new curriculum and training manuals, he expected the NIS to further boost the capacity of its personnel to meet modern immigration service demands.
The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, stated that it was the first time for the agency to produce training curriculum and manual since its inception in 1963.
Mr Babandede said the documents were produced by a team of 30 professors led by Salihu Ingawa, a Professor of Education in the University of Abuja.
He listed the benefiting NIS institutions as the Command and Staff College, Sokoto; Nigeria Immigration Training School, Kano; Nigeria Immigration Training School, Orlu, and Nigeria Immigration Training School, Ahoada.
Mr Babandede said he strongly believed the initiative would produce “well-trained and better-equipped officers and men that will further reposition NIS to contribute its quota in the change agenda of this administration.’’
The NIS boss disclosed that the fifth training institution of the agency, to be known as the Regional Academy of Migration, would take off in Tugga, Kebbi “in the 2018 financial year.’’
“The institution has already received the blessings of Heads of Immigration in the West African sub-region during a meeting the NIS jointly hosted with the ECOWAS Commission between Aug. 3 and 4, 2017.
“We have developed a draft curriculum of the institution, which will be reviewed and validated by experts from the region and representatives of international organisations,’’ he said.