The federal government, yesterday, condemned the registration of Nigerians resident in states other than their states of origin. It also flayed the deportation of Nigerians to their states of origin by some state governments, warning that the move is capable of disintegrating the country.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting of the National Security Council yesterday, the Director-General of the Department of States Services (DSS), Mr. Ita Ekpenyong said the Council directed that the practices must be stopped forthwith, as every Nigerian is free to live in any part of the country without molestation.
The decision by the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha to register northerners in Imo state has sparked widespread condemnation in the country, as the move is seen as ethnic and religious profiling.
Several states in the southern part of the country have also allegedly repatriated northerners living in their states to the northern part of the country.
Mr. Ekpenyong, who was in company of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, also revealed that a meeting of the National Council of State would be convened next week to address these issues.
He said the president has directed that no security personnel should be involved in the registration or relocation of persons by state governments or any group in a state.
He said: “Council discussed in detail the issue of registration of Nigerians in any part of the country, being subjected to registration, being subjected to deportation, being taken away from one part of the country to the other.
“Council discussed the reaction by some groups in Kano State and other parts of the country.
“Council observed that this threat was more potent than Boko Haram and could disintegrate the country. And we take this very seriously, for people to deport people, for people to take people from one place to the other, for registration of indigenes no matter where they are. No matter where they are they are free to settle anywhere they like.
“Council resolved that the issue of registration of Nigerians anywhere in the country and deportation should stop forthwith. To re-emphasis the importance, the President has attached to this that is why he asked the IGP and me to address the press, this must stop forthwith.
“Security operatives should not be involved in anybody trying to register people and anybody trying to deport people security operatives must henceforth not be involved if Police, DSS is found to be involved it will be severely dealt it.
“Also youth groups trying to forment trouble because of this issue are hereby warned to desist from it because government is taking serious notice of it. Government is doing everything possible to stem this from getting out of control. As a matter of fact, to show the urgency, the Council of State meeting will be held anytime next week to discuss these issues” he said.
The National Security Council meeting was attended by the Chief of Defense Staff and all the service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, the Directors-General of the Department of State Services and the National Intelligence Agency.
Others in attendance were the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Police Affairs, as well as the National Security Adviser.