19, 000 illegal immigrants have been arrested and repatriated by the Federal Government to rid the nation of expatriates suspected to be fueling insurgency in parts of the country, Minister of Interior, Abba Moro has said.
“19,000 illegal immigrants have been sent out of the country and that surveillance equipment would be installed at the nation’s borders, in collaboration with the United States of America,” Moro told newsmen.
According to him, “extra-ordinary problems require extra-ordinary solutions and we will do what is necessary to address the current challenges”.
Explaining the cost implications of installing the surveillance equipment at the borders, Moro revealed that the earlier quotations by two foreign firms with the expertise to undertake the project, ZTE and Hawaei conglomerates, were in the region of about $2. 6 billion (about N405 billion).
“On the cost of implementating the surveillance equipment in our borders, we are in the process of certifying one of those that can be awarded. It is within the region of $2.6 billion and it was tendered by a Chinese firm, ZTE and Hawaei conglomerate”.
He added, however, that with the offer by America to play a role in the project, the cost would be reduced in the final analysis.
“That money may be reduced as the United States Government is also in touch with us in fighting terror and the US government has offered to provide surveillance equipment which we will deploy to the borders”.
The minister noted that checking the influx of illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries was a great challenge due to the porous borders in the Northern states but every necessary step would be taken to stop them, especially with the war on terrorism.