Comptroller General of Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede, has called on Nigerians applying for international passport to stop patronising touts. He also called citizens to shun third party, process their passports and payments online.
His call was reiterated Saturday afternoon in a statement by DCI Sunday James, service public relations officer. The statement highlights the reforms by Babandede led NIS to ensure stress free processes.
According to James, “The Comptroller General of Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede while appreciating positive criticisms and comments on shortcomings of some passport offices, encourages Passport applicants to avoid touts, third party and do their processing online both application and payment and keep reporting any default or extra charges to the service, also to avoid the rush syndrome”
He noted that “The Nigeria Immigration Service under the leadership of the Comptroller General of Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede MFR has undergone multiple operational reforms that has addressed multifaceted issues relating to passport process and issuance.
“The public are the best judge to rate the NIS improved services from the Airport, Seaport and Land Border frontiers, to the issuance of Visa on Arrival, Temporary Work Permit, Biometric Visa etc as an organization that deals with requests from foreign organizations, bodies, and individuals, the service cannot afford to offer services that negates international best practices ,hence the deployment of advance technologies to service the needs of Nigerians for passport and International entities for visas and other relevant facilities.
The spokesman noted that “Nigerians holders of the green passport are proud to have the green passport today due to acceptability and value, contrary to past experiences where the mere sight of a green passport calls for suspicion and ill treatment, Nigerians are no longer singled out in a crowd just for holding a green passport, it is a major achievement worthy of appreciation, that today Nigerian green passport is one of the most secured passport globally, the service providers are to be commended for giving the country an ICAO standard passport that matches any other in the world.
“The CGI Muhammad Babandede MFR has brought his wealth of experience to bear in ensuring that Nigeria’s passport falls among the best in security, quality, and global standard rating by ICAO, the 10 year validity passport was designed to meet the needs of Nigerians in the Diaspora to reduce the frequent contact or application for renewal of expired passports, considering the distance covered by some applicants to the Missions abroad, many Nigerians abroad can attest to the value addition having a 10 year validity passport, it guarantees their continuous stay at work and validate their residency status, it saves the cost of flight from one state abroad to another.
Furthermore, he noted that “The Covid-19 pandemic has its toll on the operations of the NIS foreign offices in Nigerian Missions that have to comply with Country directives on Covid-19 protocols, especially countries that are still experiencing lockdown ,the Nigerian Missions cannot operate in isolation, neither can the NIS offices in those missions, many outcry of no services rendered are connected to lock down in those countries leading to shutting down of activities in those Missions ,respect for the laws in those countries is paramount, the NIS under the leadership of CGI Muhammad Babandede has developed a way for Nigerians with expired passport to return to Nigeria, if they have need by applying online to the Comptroller General of Immigration Service for approval to travel with expired passport to Nigeria, after receiving an approval conveyed to the applicant to be presented to the Airlines to enable them board aircraft to Nigeria when there is such need, the introduction of the Nigerian Temporary Passport will help in reducing the stress and burden of travelling back to Nigeria when the individual losses his or her passport, or other critical reasons where the passport is not available or valid, it serves to address such emergencies, the various passport reforms is geared towards making Nigerians comfortable.
He disclosed that “Nigerian Immigration Service has proposed the need for the service to produce the passport locally and at its Service Headquarters, thereby domesticating production and having full ownership of production, processing and issuance. The service cannot afford to see Nigerians going through the stress of procuring a commodity they pay. The Comptroller General has flushed out a whole passport command and its staff replacing them with new personnel, task forces have worked alongside some passport control offices to clear backlogs, passport officers are changed discretionary, all in an effort to make process, issuance and acquisition of passport seamless, online process, online payments was introduced to eliminate touting and complains of extra charges, but many Nigerians cannot do without cutting corners, by using touts, third party when they can process and pay online themselves. Unless we eliminate touts and third party that is being patronized by many applicants, the complaints will not cease and the best offer by the service will not be seen to be yielding result.
While noting that the service gives priority when the need arise to those seeking passports on medical emergencies, the statement said “Every effort put in place to eradicate sharp practices in passport offices will continue as far as the applicants will not resist, report and do online applications and payments and avoid the urgent syndrome. The service has resolved to prosecute both the giver and receiver of extra charges as corruption must be fought by all.”