A joint team comprising the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Police Force on Friday evicted no fewer than 23 suspected herdsmen who were identified as illegal migrants from Niger Republic.
The evictees were ejected from Obudu, in the northern part of Cross River State.
The eviction, which was coordinated in conjunction with the office of the State Security Adviser, saw the armed security personnel escorting the immigrants to Gakem, a border town between Cross River and Benue states, from where they will be led out of the country.
A witness, Sunday Alenke, told Southern City News on Friday that the suspects were citizens of Niger Republic that came to Obudu under the pretext of selling local herbs.
He said, “They came into Obudu a few months ago and have been selling traditional medicines to people and penetrating the villages.
But our people have noticed them and there is outcry to get them out because of the prevailing security situation involving Fulani herdsmen in nearby Benue State and across the country. Our people have expressed serious fears about their presence.
“The Immigration invited them and they found out that some of them had expired ECOWAS passports while others did not have any paper at all. So, they decided to get them out of Obudu.
They escorted them to the boundary town of Gakem in Bekwarra LGA from where they handed them over to a monitoring team in Benue State that will see them out of the country.”
Alenke said the operation was meant to be silent because heads of the security agencies who participated in the operation refused to comment on the issue.
But when contacted, the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji, said the migrants were evacuated from Obudu because they had no valid documents.
Ngaji, who noted that the exercise was carried out in the most civil manner, also said the migrants could not convince the security personnel that interrogated them on why they came to Obudu.
“We actually got the immigration to evict them because they did not have passports and other valid documents.
They also could not convince us on why they were in Obudu. You know, the issue of herdsmen has become a national concern. But note that they willingly cooperated with the operatives, not under coercion,” he added.