COVID-19: Immigration Service Put In Place New Clearance Procedures At Airports
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has unveiled new clearance procedure for passengers at the nation’s international airports to facilitate seamless screening once the airports are opened for business.
The new measures include enhanced collection of passengers’ biometric data and other travel information which will now be mandatory for all passengers.
To achieve the new regime, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command of NIS has commenced training of its personnel on the new operational procedures and guidelines for seamless passenger facilitation.
Comptroller of MMIA Command, Musa Usman, told The Nation that the COVID-19 pandemic would alter clearance procedure at the airports and other border control posts.
This is necessitating vigilance and inter-agency collaboration among personnel to reduce physical contact with passengers and other measures crucial to curbing the spread of the pandemic.
The airports are scheduled to re-open on June 21.
According to Usman, Immigration personnel will henceforth interface with foreign carriers to pick passengers manifest for clearance ahead of arrival and departure procedure.
Besides, he said the new regime of clearance would not allow for the use of protocol officers by very important persons (vIPs) for their clearance procedure as everyone is now required to undergo MIDAS and fingerprints collection personally.
He said the NIS, in partnership with the airport authority, would construct small cubicles where passports will be slotted by passengers to avoid any physical contact.
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Usman said NIS would work with other agencies to enforce the new guidelines rolled out by the aviation and health authorities to accelerate emerging trends in border control procedure and processes at airports.
Usman said: “Our operations at the airport will never be the same again and we have done this deliberately involving all stakeholders as NIS does not work in isolation and facilitation is an entire process involving a lot of people and agencies.”
He stressed the need to strategise on how to ensure seamless clearance and facilitation in this COVID-19 pandemic.
Also speaking, Assistant Comptroller General NIS, Zone A, Lagos, Mohammed Alfa, said for the men and officers of the command to tackle COVID-19, they needed to be disciplined individually and collectively while doing their jobs diligently.
Alfa said officers who are operating at the airport must abide by set rules and regulations stating that discipline is the only way to enable the organization with such huge staff strength of over 25,000 to maintain cohesion and direction.
The Nation quoted him as saying: “For us to succeed, for us to be able to attack COVID-19, then all of us as individuals and collectively will have to be disciplined. Self discipline collective discipline and by the time we do that the protocols become very easy for us to comply with. We are talking about simple rules and regulations .
“We are talking about people not engaging themselves in impersonation, when you have self discipline you will not engage in that, you know it’s wrong.”