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Nigeria, India partner to curb fake passports – Aregbesola

By Guardian Nigeria
05 February 2023   |   3:00 pm
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with the Indian Government on total eradication of fake Nigerian passports into India.

[FILES] A Nigerian officer holds passports. REUTER/Finbarr O’Reilly FOR/SM

The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with the Indian Government on total eradication of fake Nigerian passports into India.

The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, said this in a statement issued by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Afonja Ajibola, on Sunday in Abuja.

According to him, Aregbesola made this known while receiving the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Gangadharan Balasubramanian, in Abuja.

The minister said that Nigeria would ever remain grateful to the Government and people of India for her support to Nigeria during the country’s anti-colonial struggle that led to independence.

Aregbesola pledged Nigeria’s full cooperation with India through its Immigration Service to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous persons and syndicates engaging in fraudulent procurement of fake official Nigerian travelling documents to enter India illegally.

He called for closer collaboration between both governments through provision of useful information and intelligence reports that would assist in unmasking those involved to get them arrested to face the full weight of the law.

On some arrested mariners caught on a ship, accused of illegal activity, the minister said the federal governmet would prefer that the judicial process run its course.

“Eventhough I will try my best to see if the issue could still be handled on humanitarian ground,” said the minister.

He said that the federal govermment frowned at all illegalities and would not condone procurement of fake visas by individuals to gain false entry into another country.

Aregbesola, however, implored Balasubramanian for technical assistance through scholarships and professional courses/trainings as part of partnership co-operation.

This, Aregbesola said, would go a long way in enhancing the performance of its paramilitary agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), a civil protection corps that responds to emergencies.

He added that the NSCDC also play a complementary role to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in maintaining law and order in the country.

In his remarks, the high commissioner who commended the cordial relationship existing between both countries, promised to explore more areas of co-operation that would further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the duo.

Balasubramanian added that already, seven agencies of government, including the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), were currently undergoing relevant courses in India as demonstration of partnership support to Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, commended the high commissioner for his visit.

Belgore reiterated the commitment of the ministry towards achieving improved service and efficient service delivery through investment in capacity building for the ministry’s members of staff and its agencies.