Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has applauded the Japanese government, for its continued support to strengthening Uganda’s border management systems through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Rugunda was on Monday, April 10, speaking at the launch of an Immigration Training Academy in Nakasongola constructed by IOM for the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) as part of the $1.8m Japan-funded Strengthening Border Security in Uganda project.
“The establishment of the academy is a timely addition to government efforts to combat transnational crimes which include terrorism, human trafficking, irregular and illegal migration, among others,” Rugunda said.
According to Ali Abdi, the chief of mission at IOM Uganda, this basic, military-style facility will enable immigration officers to acquire comprehensive and continuous training to ensure that they can carry out their duties in accordance with international standards.
“Among the tasks that Ugandan immigration officials are expected to do in this day and age is to electronically register travellers, inspect state-of-the-art travel documents, identify fraudulent passports; impose visa requirements, carry out border patrols in rough terrain, and detect a possible victim of trafficking, etc… We are confident that this academy will help [them] achieve this goal,” Abdi said.
The training hall has been equipped with Migration, Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) – a user-friendly and cost-effective border management information system developed by IOM, which allows countries to electronically register travellers.
“With MIDAS, countries can effectively monitor those entering and exiting their territories, while providing a sound statistical basis for migration policy-related planning,” Abdi said.
Currently, the academy, a brainchild of former internal affairs minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima (RIP), can accommodate 50 people, but there are plans to expand it to host up to 300 people.
The Japanese ambassador to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda, said the academy was one of the many measures needed to strengthen border security.
“The security threat seems to be continuously on the rise globally, and our fights to secure our countries must continue… Those new equipment and facilities have to be maintained to be functional for years to come, as a secure country is not built in one day,” Kazuaki said.
Other dignitaries present included Rosa Malango, the UN resident coordinator in Uganda; the state minister for internal affairs, Mario Obiga Kania; and the permanent secretary for internal affairs, Dr Benon Mutambi.