The perceived nonchalant attitude of some companies to immigration related issues and security in the Niger Delta region between 2006 and 2008, which led to mass exodus of expatriates were some of the challenges of the immigration service in Rivers State Command in the past three years.
Comptroller of Immigration Service, Rivers State Command Dr. E. B.U. Ifeadi disclosed this during a get together to mark the end of last year of the command in Port Harcourt.
Reviewing the activities of the command within the period under review, Dr. Ifeadi stated that despite the challenges, the command made tremendious achievements in many respects.
He said that the command generated N482,653,190.00 revenue in 2009 from issuance of passport, cerpac, operation. Re-entry permit/Re-visa (ECOWAS), ECOWAS travel certificate and aliens.
Besides, he pointed out that 40,000 US DollarS was also realised from Oil and Gas free zone (Onne) and visaless cases (Bonny seapost).
On project execution, the comptroller stated that his command procured a regimented band and other musical instruments for parades and other social functions which places the Immigration Service in Rivers State above other paramilitary agencies in the state.
In the same vein, the command embarked upon the transition from machine readable passport to biometric passport popularly known as e-passport which encountered various problems ranging from inability of participating banks to understand and brace up to the challenges and vision occasioned by large number of Nigerians seeking the e-passport.
In the area of discipline among the officers and men of the command, he emphatically said that erring and recalcitrant officers were subjected to Orderly Room Trial to check cases of absenteeism and misconduct that were pervasive in the command in the recent past.
Commenting further on recruitment of Rivers indigenes in the Immigration Service, Dr Ifeadi revealed that 438 graduates out of 797 were successful in the fitness test and wrote the examination for the Superintendent cadre, while 803 applicants out of 1,344 scaled through various stages of screening exercise for the Inspectorate cadre respectively between 2006 and 2008.
The comptroller attributed the huge success of the recruitment exercise to the assistance of the Rivers State Government, Federal Character Commission, Two Amphibious Brigade, Nigerian Army Port Harcourt, and Federal Road Safety Commission among others.
According to him, promotion of sports activities witnessed giant strides as the Visa Boys Football Club of the command was the champion and Gold medalist of the Bimbo Odukoya Memorial football competition in 2007 in the state.
Also, the Immigration Visa Girls Football Club, the female football club founded and funded within the period under review is being developed and recognised by the state government.
He was emphatic that the command had recorded great achievements in physical development through the weekly and monthly parades and road work exercises as well as the establishment of Immigration Shotokan Karate Club for mental and physical fitness of the officers and men of Rivers State Command.
Dr Ifeadi used the occasion to extol the collaborative role of sister security agencies in the state in ensuring atmosphere of peace for law abiding Nigerians and foreigners who live and do business in the state.
The comptroller specifically thanked Rivers State government for providing logistics, to ease out over 100 arrested illegal immigrant in Rivers State which he acknowledged has helped to ensure internal security of Rivers State in particular and the Nigerian state at large.