February 26, 2024

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NIS Cautious Nigerians Against Third Party in Passport Application

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  • 80 officers tried
  • 8 dismissed

CEM REPORT, MIGRATION | The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said it has put measures in place to eliminate third parties in the passport application process.

The service said with the measures set up Nigerians can process the application of their passport from the comfort of their homes.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO), Comptroller of Immigration, Tony Akuneme, said the patronage of third parties has been one of the issues facing the issuance and renewal of passports in the country.

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He noted that the service is continuously working to ensure smooth and seamless application of passports either on a laptop or smartphone and pay online from the comfort of their homes.

“You don’t really need anybody whether immigration officers or agents which we usually call touts. They have upgraded and become agents. They are still third parties. The problem we have is the use of third parties because no matter how much reform you put in, you will always see a learned and civilised person using a third party to process his or her application.

“And one thing they don’t understand is that third parties don’t have an idea of the information entered into your application. This can result in somebody having issues with his/her National Identification Number (NIN).”

Speaking further on corruption within the service, Akuneme said the service has continued to punish its officers and men who try to assist people for a fee.

He noted that although officers can assist people genuinely without collecting money from them.

“We are committed to curbing corruption and other illicit acts in the service. You will appreciate the fact that if nothing else, the level of awareness has increased in the last few months.

“Don’t patronise agents, fill your forms yourself. We have officers watching and these agents know they are being watched. When they take money from you, tell us. Tell the world if we don’t take action,” he said.

He claims that more than 80 Service officers and members have been tried for engaging in the illicit collection of payments for the issuance of new passports and the renewal of expired ones.

He also revealed that eight other cops had been dismissed from their positions in the previous year for the same offence.

He claimed that the current Comptroller General (CG), NIS, Isah Jere, included disciplinary measures as part of his three-point agenda when he took office.

The CG’s three-point plan, according to Akuneme, also calls for tightening border security, reforming passport issuing, and enhancing the welfare of NIS employees.

He stated that Jere has been doing this to the best of his abilities for the past year or more, which has caused the majority of applicants to make online passport bookings.

Rauf Aregbesola, the interior minister, recently claimed that certain dishonest NIS employees were impeding attempts to expedite the issuing and renewal of international passports in the nation.

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