The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has expressed the readiness of the Nigerian government to cooperate with India to eradicate the use of fake Nigerian passports to travel to India.
Aregbesola gave this assurance in his office at the weekend while receiving the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian on a courtesy visit.
According to Aregbesola, Nigeria will remain grateful to the government and people of India for their support during Nigeria’s anti-colonial struggle that led to independence.
He pledged full cooperation of the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigeria Immigration Service, to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous persons and syndicates engaging in the procurement of fake official Nigerian travelling documents to enter India illegally.
He also called for closer collaboration with the Indian government through the provision of useful information and intelligence reports that will assist in unmasking those involved and their modus operandi with a view to getting them arrested to face the full wrath of the law.
On the issue of some arrested mariners accused of illegal activity, Aregbesola said the government will prefer that the judicial process run its course while he will try to see if the issue could be handled on humanitarian grounds.
The minister made it abundantly clear that Nigeria frowns at all illegalities, and will not condone the procurement of fake visas by individuals in order to gain false entry into another country.
Aregbesola implored High Commissioner Balasubramanian for technical assistance through scholarships and professional courses and training as part of cooperation that will enhance the performance of his ministry’s paramilitary agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, which is a civil protection corp that responds to emergencies as well as complement the police in maintaining law and order.
In his remarks, the Indian high commissioner promised to explore more areas of cooperation that will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two friendly countries.
Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian later disclosed that already, seven agencies of government including the Nigeria Immigration Service are currently undergoing relevant courses in India as a demonstration of the partnership support to Nigeria.