A total of 625 deported Nigerians returned to the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
He added that 24 other Nigerians were repatriated for various criminal and immigration-related offences abroad.
Back in the country, 12 foreign nationals who failed to comply with Nigerian entry requirements, were refused admission and returned, said James.
He noted that the year witnessed a global pandemic – COVID-19 – which prompted various countries to enforce mandatory lockdown and border closure before their eventual relaxation within the year.
The NIS spokesman stated that Nigeria had its fair share of the COVID-19 experience and the Service, as the lead agency in charge of migration control and border management at the airport in Abuja, stepped up personnel protection to insulate them from contracting the disease.
He listed some of the measures taken to include the installation of glass shields that separate the operatives from passengers, as well as the use of face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitizer, among others.
“No fewer than 239,114 outbound and inbound migrants passed through NAIA, Abuja between 1st January 2020 and 15th December 2020. So far, 73,582 Nigerians and 46,665 non-Nigerians departed NAIA, Abuja for various destinations abroad.
“Similarly, 81,277 Nigerians and 37,590 non-Nigerians arrived through NAIA airport within the period under review,” the statement said.
James revealed that in the year, 34 Nigerians – predominantly young ladies – were refused departure for non-compliance and violation of immigration regulations and other extant laws.
He explained that the young ladies were victims of human trafficking being transported for forced prostitution and sexual exploitation and were between the ages of 18 to 28.
“Their final destination was Dubai, UAE. Upon interception, they were profiled and forwarded to NIS Service Headquarters for further investigation and released to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for rehabilitation.
“In the same vein, the change of operational strategy led to the uncovering of the persons recruiting and trafficking these ladies via sting operation where six recruiters/traffickers were apprehended – four males and two females. Also, the identities of 3 recruiters/sponsors resident in Dubai were equally uncovered,” the statement said.
The NIS spokesman disclosed that NAIA Command, within the period under review, received and handed over 100 Nigerians whose offences were not immigration-related, such as drug-related issues, financial crimes, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, to relevant agencies.