The Federal Government on Monday ordered state governments, which had been registering and deporting some Nigerians from parts of the country because of terrorism, to desist forthwith.
The government also directed security agents not to be involved in such unlawful activities or risk severe punishment.
This was one of the decisions taken at the National Security Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting was attended by all service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Muhammad Abubakar; Director-General of the Department of State Security, Ita Ekpeyong; Minister of Interior, Abba Moro; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Abduljelili Adesiyan.
Abubakar and Ekpeyong briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
Ekpeyong said the council reviewed the reports from states where such exercise was already taking place and resolved that it was more potent than the Boko Haram sect.
He said all Nigerians were free to settle down in any part of the country that they so desire.
He said, “Council discussed in details the issue of registration of Nigerians in any part of the country, being subjected to registration, being subjected to deportation, being taken away from one part of the country to the other.
“Council discussed the reaction by some groups in Kano State and other parts of the country.
“Council observed that this threat was more potent than Boko Haram and could disintegrate the country.
“And we take this very seriously, for people to deport people, for people to take people from one place to the other, for registration of indigenes no matter where they are. No matter where they are, they are free to settle anywhere they like.
“Council resolved that the issue of registration of Nigerians anywhere in the country and deportation should stop forthwith. To re-emphasis the importance, the President has attached to this that is why he asked the IG and I to address the press, this must stop forthwith.
“Security operatives should not be involved in trying to register people and anybody trying to deport people. Security operatives must henceforth not be involved. If policemen, SSS officials are found to be involved, they will be severely dealt it.”
Ekpeyong added that youth groups that are trying to foment trouble because of the issue are warned to desist from it because government is taking serious notice of it.
The DSS boss said government was doing everything possible to ensure that the situation did not get out of control.
To show the importance the government attaches to the matter, he said a meeting of the Council of State would be held anytime next week to discuss the issue.
He insisted that the fight against Boko Haram was ongoing and on course.
“The fight against Boko Haram is ongoing. We kept saying that the fight against Boko Haram is like the footballer. You know when the Germans played Argentina, it was only that one goal they scored that everyone is remembering, the other goals that were stopped nobody will remember.
“There are several things government is doing, there are several attacks government has stopped but nobody will remember those ones because we don’t tell you, but several things are going on,” he added.
On the abducted Chibok girls, Ekpeyong said government was not resting on its oars in its efforts to rescue them.
He reiterated that security agencies were already aware of their location but were being careful not to endanger their lives.
“The issue of Chibok girls, government is making efforts. We know where they are but we don’t want to endanger their lives, that is the truth. We want to take it gradually and release them at the appropriate time. We know where they are, you can go to bed with that,” he said