The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Isah Idris has urged Nigerians that applied for passports especially through third parties, also known as touts, to go to passport offices for collection.
Idris, while speaking at the commissioning of an enhanced e-Passport production facility in Kano, reassured Nigerians that the passport reform process is still in progress, but complained that many of passports that are ready could not be sent to applicants as third parties who were employed by many applicants filled in wrong contact address.
He noted that the fast track programme designed specifically for those who returned from different parts of the globe for the Yuletide holiday is still on till January 31.
The CGI who was represented at the commissioning by the ACG Passport, Sadat Hassan, said he was particularly happy with the positive feedbacks from the various Passport offices across the country, which showed that our people appreciate the novel initiative.
He said: “We intend to keep the two weeks processing timeframe open to all diasporas until January 31st when the programme will come to an end.”
He added that the NIS is still committed to issuing passports between three to six weeks, post biometric capture, where there are no technical hitches or application irregularities such as inconsistencies in the NIN of applicants, while emphasizing that NIN remains mandatory for the issuance of passports and the information in both documents must match.
The CGI, according to a statement issued by the spokesman of the Service, Tony Akuneme, asserted that his management team remain focused on improving service delivery with particular emphasis on efficient and seamless passport administration, border security and welfare of officers and men of the Service.
He revealed that there are a total of 110,000 uncollected passports in the 36 states of the country plus FCT, insisting that for this reason, very senior officers of the rank of Assistant Comptrollers General have been dispatched to the various zones to ensure these uncollected passports are distributed to their owners
He said: “Nigerians are equally advised to go to the passport offices where they applied for passports and check as over 60% passport applications are completed by third parties who input wrong contact information for their “clients”.
“We encourage Nigerians to endeavor to fill their Passport applications by themselves and to contact us using any of the under listed mediums please:
(a) phone: +2348033074681; +2348021819988
(b) twitter: @nigimmigration
(c) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“We reiterate our official position that Passport applicants should please avoid using third parties but go online and make their applications/payments themselves at passport.immigration.gov.ng. We continue to deal with the challenges of recalcitrant touts as well as few bad eggs amongst the personnel who are bent on sabotaging the reform process.”
The CGI warned members of the public of the nefarious activities of racketeering syndicate, stressing that they have gone a step further to even circulate fake news of Immigration recruitment exercise.
He reiterated that the NIS is not recruiting at this moment and will always publish such recruitment as usual, anytime the approval of Federal Government for recruitment is secured.
MIchael Olugbode in Abuja