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Passport issuance: Immigration goes tough on officers

Posted by Punch on 2006/05/08 | Views: 1021 |

Passport issuance: Immigration goes tough on officers


Nigerians in the habit of using senior officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to facilitate speedy processing of their international passports may soon find out that it is no longer business as usual.

Nigerians in the habit of using senior officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to facilitate speedy processing of their international passports may soon find out that it is no longer business as usual.

This is following stern warning by the authorities of NIS to its senior officers, who were not posted to the passport offices nationwide, to steer clear of the section or face serious consequences.

A memo, sent to all the zonal and state commands, warned that officers who attempt to defy the new directive could lose their jobs or find themselves in unpalatable positions.

Saturday Punch also gathered that the service is also preparing e-mail addresses, which is expected to be made available to all men and officers of NIS, to report and post the name of any officer that tries to help anybody in securing an international passport.

Expectedly, the new directive is generating controversy among the staff of NIS, who have expressed fears that it could be used rope in some officers over other mundane reasons.

An officer of the NIS told Saturday Punch that virtually all the officers of the NIS were not comfortable with every aspect of the directive. "I don't see anything wrong with helping a friend or family member to secure an international passport.

However, NIS spokesman, Mr. Ikpedeme King said that every allegation would be thoroughly investigated. "The e-mail addresses are not to witchhunt anybody. We even have complaint box for those who do not have e-mail facility and others who may report any misdeed at the passport offices. Such complaints shall be investigated. We have a CGI monitoring team that handles all that."

King said that the new measure became imperative because of the long string of complaints from the public. "We are really just advising officers, it is not a threat. It is based on complaints from the public."

According to him, the measure was a sanitization exercise meant to ensure due process in the passport offices. "Now, what you have to do is pay your bank draft, complete the form and have your photo taken and wait for the passport. Officers have been briefed and we intend to stop ways officers interfere in the passport procurement process, because we know through it money exchange hands. If you don't have anything to do there, don't go there," he said.

SATURDAY PUNCH, May 06, 2006

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