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Making international passports easier for Nigerians

By Steve Obum Orajiaku
30 November 2022   |   1:11 am
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Alhaji Idris Isah Jere was the man in the eye of the storm and who I considered should proffer answers to questions on the troubles Nigerians go through to acquire their international passport booklet...

[FILES] A Nigerian officer holds passports. REUTER/Finbarr O’Reilly FOR/SM

SIR: The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Alhaji Idris Isah Jere was the man in the eye of the storm and who I considered should proffer answers to questions on the troubles Nigerians go through to acquire their international passport booklet and other allegations making rounds. As at this moment, fresh and reissue of international passport booklet to Nigerians normally takes minimum of between 90 to 120 days for capturing and perhaps another 30 days for pickup. This is quite frustrating and discouraging especially for those who have time bound purposes for travelling abroad. For the palliative waiver available for applicants on the basis of health related grounds, or any other appropriate and urgent causes, applicants are made to pay through their nose.

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service doused nerves regarding the allegations making rounds that the official cost of procuring international passport booklet which is N27,000 may have been ‘padded.’ ‘I believe it is merely an allegation, and it remains so until proven otherwise,’ concluded the Comptroller General, NIS.

The plight and suffering of the Nigeria populace with regards to the rigour and stress associated with processing passports procurement must no well-meaning leader take advantage of. If any applicant decides to cut corners, then nemesis will catch up with any immigration personnel who will offer his or her assistance.

About early November 2022, ‘‘the Comptroller General of Immigration announced the summary dismissal of eight (8) personnel from the service and a wide range of sanctions for 18 others found to have committed offences against discipline.’’ This was how the press release by Kenneth S. Kure, chief superintendent of Immigration Public Relations Department stated it. The sundry established offences range from ‘‘employment racketeering, sharp practices, dishonest conducts, absent from duty without official leave (AWOL) among others, preferred against them.’’ It is not in doubt that owing to the dedication to duty, disposition to probity, sophistication and rectitude which are the identical qualities of this Kaduna State born immigration topnotch officer, some semblance of sanity have been restored in contrast to what it used to be before he came on board. This credibility nevertheless has not put paid to all the perplexing situations confronting this only government parastatal that, by default, has a steady interface with the outside world. Remember that maxim that says that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander…

I did not bring up this topic during my brief hearing with the Comptroller General, but may I ask here… How does Nigeria Immigration Service reciprocate the hostility meted out to Nigerians whose only offence is that the biting economic climate back here in Nigeria has compelled them to relocate to foreign countries without processing the required documentations to enable them live and work?
Steve Obum Orajiaku steveobum@gmail.com

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