The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has created 28 additional centres for the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) in order to reduce cases of issuance of fake residence permits and aliens cards to expatriates coming into the country.
Dr Benoy Berry, Chairman of CONTEC GLOBAL, the technical partner to NIS on CERPAC project gave this hint in Abuja Tuesday.
Berry who spoke at a forum to mark one year of CERPAC project, disclosed that the federal government decision to increase the number of CERPAC centres to almost all states of the federation has helped to prevent unscrupulous foreigners and their Nigerian collaborators from perpetrating crimes, including sponsorship of acts of terrorism within the country.
Specifically he said the newly introduced ‘Know Your Immigration Status’, a new technology-based innovation by CONTEC for expatriates to authenticate the status of their CERPAC in Nigeria, has created a safety barrier between touts and middle men who, hitherto, take advantage of foreigners adding that the company also upgraded its facility at various international airports with the deployment of latest super field verification station card scanners and sophisticated data capture with bio metric equipment to check illegal entry with fake resident permits and visas.
Before now there were only eight centres that issued the CERPAC but its decentralization has seen additional 28 centres across Nigeria that now issue the card, making it a total of 35 centers.
At present, only Borno and Yobe, two states that have been embroiled in lingering security, are without CERPAC centres.
It would be recalled that last month the Heads of Immigration Services from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries were in Nigeria during which they visited the NIS CERPAC centre in Abuja.
Sequel to that visit, they made some recommendations, which revealed that they are willing to adopt the Nigerian CERPAC model for the sub-region.
Berry who conducted the 16 members ECOWAS Heads of Immigration Services round the facility put in place for CERPAC project said, “The heads of immigration in ECOWAS States were impressed with the state of the art equipment and have endorsed the establishment a Migration Training Academy and similar card issuance model for Ecowas states as part of measures to effectively manage migration and emerging trends associated with movement of persons across borders.”
Speaking on how this could improve immigration services in Nigeria and African states, Dr. Berry said: “Nigeria and most African countries need to evolve smart ways of nipping security threats in their countries through identity manipulation and theft.”
Berry said this could only be achieved through the adoption and deployment of smart technologies. He said, “Smart technology remains the best means of identifying and stamping out perpetrators of terrorism and other crimes that threatens nations like Nigeria.”
Pressed further, he said, “CERPAC is an embodiment of such technologies. The CONTEC boss who expressed satisfaction with the level of commitment and performance of the CERPAC project said his company has also created several technologies that would make international passports and other identification documents harder to forge.