The Nigerian Immigration Service, Abia State Command, has intercepted a luxury bus conveying 112 passengers, including 42 foreigners at the Abia Tower Junction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
The suspects were traveling from Kano to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when they were intercepted.
Comptroller of Immigration in charge of the state, Mrs. Augustina Opara, said the arrest was effected after her agency received a tip-off that a bus with suspected aliens were in the state.
She said, “After thorough investigations and screening of the occupants of the 52-seater luxury bus, 42 out of the 112 passengers were discovered to be without valid travel documents.
“Further investigations revealed that the foreigners were all nationals of Niger Republic. Other passengers found to be Nigerians have been released to continue with their journey to Port Harcourt.”
The comptroller said arrangements were being perfected to repatriate the suspects within 48 hours, explaining that they had no legal rights to be in the country.
She restated the commitment of her officers and men to ensure that no foreigner without proper travel documents infiltrated the country, especially as the elections gathered momentum.
Opara further said that the agency had started mopping up all illegal immigrants in Abia State as part of efforts to rid the state of possible security threats ahead of the elections .
She warned transport operators to endeavour to ascertain the identity of their passengers and report those with suspicious identities to security agencies.
The comptroller also appealed to border communities to always report the presence of foreigners to the security agencies for necessary action.
Later in an interview with our correspondent, one of the suspects, who identified himself as Isa, said he was a cobbler and was travelling from Niger Republic to Port Harcourt where he hoped to make a better living.
Another suspect, Abiru, said he was a nail cutter and was coming to Nigeria for the first time; while Almustapher, another foreigner, also said he was a cobbler.