Corrupt Officials Undermining Passport Issuance Process – Aregbesola
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has accused a few corrupt officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) of undermining the service’s efforts to sanitize passport application processes and bring integrity to the system. Aregbesola made this known while inaugurating the NIS passport front office in Oyo Town on Tuesday evening.
According to Aregbesola, the service has never experienced a shortage of passport booklets, contrary to rumours being spread by corrupt officials who want to continue extorting applicants. He urged Nigerians to stop patronizing touts and report any NIS officials manipulating applicants for money.
The minister added that NIS was improving its services, noting that only a few countries could boast of the type of Nigeria passport, which he said “is one of the best in the world.” However, he also highlighted the challenges facing the immigration service, including a dearth of offices to enroll applicants for data capturing.
Aregbesola said the challenges were gradually being tackled, especially with the construction of more passports front offices. The inauguration of the new office in Oyo Town would reduce congestion in the Ibadan centre, with about 5,000 applicants waiting for data capturing in Ibadan to be offloaded to the new centre in Oyo, to reduce the challenge of waiting period of data capturing by applicants.
The minister said that getting an international passport was the right of all Nigerians in Nigeria and those outside the country, assuring them that the service would not relent in its mandate of providing passports to all Nigerians.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Oyo Metropolitan Development Association, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, thanked the minister and the Federal Government for the project. He assured the government of the support and cooperation of the people of the town to officials of NIS. He said that the centre would reduce the stress experienced by people in obtaining passports and boost the economy of the town.