THE Lagos State Government has urged the Federal Government to relocate the 199 illegal Togolese immigrants camped at the Lagos Emergency Resettlement Centres (ERCs) in Igando, Alimosho Local Government Area and Agbowa, Ikorodu to their country.
Secretary to the State Government Mr. Tunji Bello said the state government could no longer continue to accommodate the illegal immigrants due to the enormous pressure on its ERCs at Igando and Agbowa.
According to Bello, the Togolese were first sighted at Awolowo road, Ikoyi, directly in front of the United Nations Refugees office following which the governor directed that the relevant state agency should take up responsibility of accommodating them.
He added that the governor directed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Immigration Services should be notified, a directive that was carried out.
Bello noted that these agencies have not taken any step to address the situation because the number of illegal immigrants continues to rise.
“As at today, they are 199 up from 114, thereby putting serious pressure on the limited space at the two camps.
”Investigations by the state revealed that these Togolese immigrants were expelled from Benin Republic, where they had lived for over 10 years.
”They came to Lagos and because of the accommodation provided by the government, those illegal immigrants at the Igando camp started calling others on phone in Benin Republic to come to Nigeria. Another batch of 85 illegal immigrants of same Togolese descent were taken to ERC, Agbowa.
“They came in illegally through the Nigerian borders,” the Secretary to the State Government said.
Bello warned that the state’s hospitality to Nigerian residents and other lawful inhabitants in distress should not be abused or over-stretched because the ERC was built to accommodate Lagosians and Nigerian residents during emergencies and period of disasters.
He said the emergency facilities could no longer accommodate anybody.
The state government urged the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to ensure that the nation’s borders are well-manned.