The Federal Government deported 64 irregular immigrants and repatriated 1,132 others in 2020.
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) disclosed this in its 2020 Annual Report presented by the Assistant Comptroller-General, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ms. Bimbola Ojo, at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
Repatriation is an act put together by a State to send a foreign national back to his/her home country or country of origin.
Deportation, on the other hand, is the act of compulsorily removing a foreign national from the country’s territory.
Ojo said 3,112 Nigerians were stopped from leaving the country while 3,563 foreigners were denied entry into the country last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, there was a sharp reduction in the movement of people into the country by land and air due to border closures.
The immigration official said: “But through the sea borders, we discovered there was a huge rise in the number of immigrants.
“In 2019, 40,872 immigrants made their way to the country through the sea. The figure shot up to 213,116 immigrants in 2020.
“This represents an increase of 13.5 percent in 2020 compared to seven percent in 2019.
“Immigrants resorted to the sea borders due to closure of the air and land borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Goods and services were still moving in and out of the country through the sea borders because they weren’t affected by the restrictions.”