Abuja - Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled Nigeria in recent days in fear of a crackdown on members of Boko Haram.
The immigrants, mostly from Niger, Chad, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and Benin, have fled to their countries in fear of getting in the crossfire of government's onslaught on the insurgents.
Unconfirmed reports suggested 5 000 illegal immigrants had left north-eastern Nigeria, the bedrock of the Boko Haram insurgency, since the declaration of a state of emergency in May.
Recently the government said over 19 000 illegal immigrants from these neighbouring countries have been deported since the deadly activities of Boko Haram insurgents started in the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Interior Minister Patrick Abba Moro said in order to enhance security, the Nigerian government found it necessary to deport all illegal foreign nationals from areas where Boko Haram were most active.
Moro also said there was no accurate data of the total number of illegal immigrants living in Nigeria due to the porous nature of the country’s borders compounded with wrong interpretation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) travel policy.
CAJ News established that the Nigeria Ministry of Interior had entered into agreements with neighbouring Cameroon, Niger, Chad, and Mali and Benin to ensure a joint patrol of the country's borders.
Before the Minister's address, Niger citizens residing in Nigeria denied reports they were involved in Boko Haram activities.
- CAJ News