The Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) has arrested five Nigerian Nationals for what it terms as “Illegal entry” into the country.
Speaking to a team of reporters on August 3, 2021, Abraham Dolley, Director of Press & Public Affairs at LIS, disclosed that at least three males and two females were arrested around the Loguatuo border in Nimba County. Loguatuo is a town near the border with Ivory Coast in the northeast.
Mr. Dolley told reporters that the five persons in question did not pass through the official border entry point that has been authorized by the Government of Liberia.
According to Dorley, the Nigerian nationals arrived in Liberia on July 30, 2021, and were subsequently arrested and have been undergoing investigation to ascertain why they did not use the official border point.
During the investigation, LIS officers established that these individuals did not have any contact persons in Liberia and their being in the country was illegal for the fact that among all of them only one person had a valid passport but without a stamp from the Ivorian side.
He said if you leave from the Ivory Coast and come to Liberia; there must always be a stamp that shows that you have passed through Ivory Coast, then a stamp from Liberia.
With none of these available to the arrested aliens, Dorley said it clearly indicates that they have violated the national laws of Liberia.
Disclosing the punishment for the offense, Mr. Dolley quoted the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia section 5.90 as saying, “You either go to jail for 2years or probably pay a fine of US$ 1000 each into government’s account.”
He, however, clarified that with a harmonious working relationship with the Nigerian community here, the commissioner-General thought it was very expedient to inform the Nigerian Embassy near Monrovia about the action of its citizens.
The Nigerian embassy has informed LIS that the concerned individuals said they came to another individual identified as Matthew, who according to Dorley has denied knowing any of them.
At the same time, he said that the LIS is working closely with its Nigerian counterparts to ensure that they are sent back to Nigeria as soon as possible.
“I know that one may be surprised that Nigeria is a member of ECOWAS, but that should not give anyone the go ahead to enter any country illegally.
Liberia is a country with about one hundred and seventy-six entry points, and the presence of security is seen at 45 border points, which means about 131 border points remain vulnerable.
He also stated that this has not been the first of its kind for the LIS to apprehend Nigerians, Burkinabe and other nationals, and they were sent back to their respective countries.
Mr. Dolley recalled that a few months back the LIS apprehended about 22 persons from Burkina Faso around the Grand Gedeh Region and they were sent back through Ivory Coast.
“What we are doing as an institution to curtail this illegal entry is that we are going to train more manpower to deploy them at the borders in addition to those we already have,” he said.
Mr. Dolley: “We are looking forward to equipping the border patrol units which is a unique section in the LIS. It has the right to commute between border points. As we speak now, we have about seven vehicles that are expected to be dispatched initially to the various counties bordering Ivory Coast and other surrounding countries.”
“We also have some motorbikes to be dispatched in addition to those already in use by some officers,” said Mr. Dolley.