Around 700 migrants from Niger, Cameroon and Chad have been expelled amid fears the sect may be drawing members from outside Nigeria, said Babayo Alkali, the top immigration official in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno.
“With the recent security threat in the state and approaching election, we had to embark on an exercise to clear the state of all illegal aliens,” Alkali said.
“Some foreigners were implicated in the Boko Haram security breach so we had to act,” he said.
Alkali said those deported, some of whom said they were visiting relatives, had been found to lack the necessary paperwork to stay in Nigeria. He did not say whether they had been found to have any links with Boko Haram.
I do not know that these deportations will help. If the migrants have ties to Boko Haram, deporting them could increase the group’s influence elsewhere – and problems for Nigeria’s neighbors eventually become problems for Nigeria, especially if Boko Haram begins to cause trouble in Cameroon or Niger. If the migrants do not have ties to Boko Haram, deporting them could win some support for authorities among local residents who resent economic competition from outsiders, but would not fundamentally affect Boko Haram’s strength in Maiduguri and surrounding areas.