Nigeria's Interior Ministry has confirmed the successful deportation of over 22,000 illegal immigrants within the past few months, saying the move comes as part of efforts to "tackle terrorism and other cases of insecurity."
"As of today, over 22,000 of such illegal immigrants have been eased out of the country," Interior Minister Abba Moro told reporters Friday in Nigeria's northwestern Kano State, where Boko Haram have repeatedly struck.
He said the deportations applied only to foreigners with no verifiable or acceptable documentation.
"They are not just from one country. Most of them are Cameroonians, Chadians and Nigerians," he said.
Moro was reacting to claims that the country had not done enough to check the influx of illegal immigration into Nigeria.
Tens of thousands of non-Nigerians are currently believed to be living in the country without documentation.
Nigeria is notorious for its porous borders, through which non-citizens can enter the country unchecked.
There are also allegations of corruption by immigration officials, who are accused of manipulating immigration rules for selfish ends.
Moro said illegal immigrants "have become ready tools in the hands of insurgents."
There are reports that the Boko Haram is fuelled largely by non-Nigerians present in the country.
Since 2009, Nigeria has been battling a insurgency led by Boko Haram, a group that aims to make Northern Nigeria an Islamist entity, but whose ideology is condemned by millions of fellow Muslims across Africa's most populous country, including respected scholars.
Both Boko Haram's late founder, Mohammed Yusuf, and his successor, Abubakar Shekau, who Nigeria's security forces claim has recently been killed, were Nigerians.
Yusuf once served as religious affairs commissioner in his native northeastern Borno State, which is currently under a state of emergency along with Yobe and Adamawa -- all of them insurgent strongholds.
Since its founding in 2001, Boko Haram is believed to have been responsible for roughly 10,000 deaths of mostly innocent people, a figure that had risen astronomically in the wake of the heavy casualties seen this year.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ağustos 2013, 22:14