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Burnt office won’t affect our service delivery, says NIS

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Muhammad Babandede

Fire Service investigates incident
Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has assured Nigerians that the recent fire outbreak in the agency would not affect delivery of its services to the public.

He gave the assurance, yesterday, in Abuja while briefing the media on the recent fire outbreak in the agency.

According to Babandede, the cause of the fire which started in one of the offices on the second floor of the headquarter’s main building, Shehu Shagari complex, is currently being investigated by the Federal Fire Service.

“I assure Nigerians that the fire incident will not affect our operations and you are free to check our websites to verify that we are still issuing passports and visa processes are also ongoing. The only challenge is that we have not established direct connectivity with our formations across the country, but we are doing so now manually instead of real time online. In the next three to four days, the connectivity would be restored,” he said.

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He said the major loss suffered in the fire incident is the equipment donated to the agency by the international community, which makes up 60 to 70 per cent of the technological tools.

He said full service would be restored as soon as possible in areas that connectivity was disrupted and full details of the incident, in terms of loss incurred and the cost of repair, would be made public once investigation is concluded.

Minister for Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the response to the fire was fast, prompt and well coordinated because of the support of the fire stations at the NIS, airport and the University of Abuja.

According to him, the office affected was the one housing the call centre, Migration Information and Data Analysis Systems (MDAS) and International Police (INTERPOL) and passenger information system which are all technology-backed systems, hence, the information can be easily retrieved.

Aregbesola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Shuaibu Belgore, also said the fire incident would not affect provision of services by NIS to Nigerians at home and abroad as well as those visiting Nigeria and are in need of a visa.

“This fire did not affect any financial record system, those are intact. We are looking keenly into the cause of the fire as we are not suspecting any arson at this point,” Belgore said.

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