The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Calabar has repatriated 24 illegal immigrants from Gabon to their country.
The immigrants were among the 41 foreigners on board intercepted at Shore line jetty in Calabar last Thursday by men of the Navy that were on routine sea patrol.
Besides, other people on board the intercepted transport vessel, `AV Agamba’ were over 200 Nigerians.
Briefing newsmen on the development yesterday, Commodore Marcus Bobai, Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, said the Gabonese were repatriated for entering Nigeria without valid traveling document.
Bobai said the repatriation is inline with the Federal Government’s Policy to tighten up security in the
Nations boarders, adding that the Navy would no longer allow foreign deportees or passengers without valid travelling documents to enter the country through the ports.
“After intercepting the ship on January 21, we handed the passengers over to the relevant agencies for screening under tight security. We discovered that 24 out of the 41 passengers had no valid passports that should guarantee them entry into Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Navy ensured that the illegal passengers remained on the ship without stepping their feet into Nigeria and we are repatriating them back to Gabon under tight security. This repatriation should serve as a strong warning to the Gabonese government as well as other African countries who think they can always enter Nigeria through the back door and dump people anyhow’’, he said.
He further said that the naval gunboats were mandated to escort the Gabonese through the same vessel they came in with back to their country.
According to him, “We are concerned about security; we have tightened our water ways in such a way that if you don’t have your valid travelling documents, you won’t be allowed access into the country. Following the security challenges in the country, we don’t just allow anybody to enter into the country and that is why we did a thorough screening on them.
He warned the agent who brought them from Gabon to desist from this act and ensure that anybody he intends to bring into this country is having his or her valid travelling document.