The Federal Government has cautioned Gabon and other ECOWAS member states not to dump deportees from their countries in Nigeria.
The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen Abdulrahman Dambazzau, gave the warning on Thursday in Calabar during the evacuation of 617 people including women and children deported from Gabon to Calabar.
He warned that the federal government would impound any vessel used in dumping deportees in Nigerian seaports.
Dambazzau, who was represented by Mrs Funke Adeuyi, the Comptroller of Immigration, Cross River Command, said that the affected people were dumped at Calabar port since Dec. 26, 2015.
He said that other punitive measures including seizure of vessels and payment of fines as stipulated in the ECOWAS charter would be employed to stop the anomaly.
“Nigeria will no more tolerate this because of security implications of such actions.
“I am here on behalf of the Minister of Interior, Lt.- Gen Abdulrahman Danbazzau, through the Comptroller General of Immigration.
“This should be the last time this category of the deportees will be allowed to transit through the Nigerian land borders or ports.
“Any country that brings this category of deportees to Nigeria will face the relevant penalty ranging from impounding of their vessels.
“Nigeria has a new policy on this type of issue and I am here to reiterate that severe action will be taken by Nigerian government should this continue.”
“Most of these people were deported for immigration related offense,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of ambassadors of countries whose nationals were among the deportees, Babacar Mbodi, the Consul General, Republic of Senegal, commended the Nigerian government for safe-keeping of the deportees.
He said that arrangements had been concluded to take the deportees to their respective countries through Seme, a border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He assured that Senegal would comply with the new federal government’s policy.
The deportees are from Gabon, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Niger, Mali, Chad and Guinea.