By Rasheedah Makinde
The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola has identified corruption as a major factor undermining the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS’s efforts at sanitizing the process and integrity of passport applications.
Mr Aregbesola stated this while inaugurating a Passport Front Office in Oyo Town, Oyo State.
The minister said the newly inaugurated office was for applications and picking up of passports without bribing NIS officers for quick interventions.
He said despite the efforts of NIS to ensure that applications of passport booklets are seamless, some bad officers were sabotaging the efforts by promising applicants an accelerated process.
“The method they use was to lie to applicants that they were short of booklets which is a lie. We have two hundred and fifty reserved booklets in our offices”.
The minister stated further that the officers who are damaging the image of the NIS should desist or face the wrath of the law.
Mr Aregbesola said the inauguration of the Passport Front Office became imperative to reduce the burden on the Ibadan Passport Office for seamless administration.
He said Ibadan Office has fourteen thousand unaddressed applications and there is a limit to what the Ibadan Office could do, as they could only attend to four hundred and fifty applicants daily.
On his part, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Mr Issah Jere who spoke through Mr Ishak Aliyu said the newly inaugurated office would boost social and economic activities in the town.
Mr Jere, therefore, called on officers to be of good conduct and always be professional while discharging their civic rights.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, Nigeria Immigration Service Controller, Oyo State Command, Mr Mohammed Umar said the establishment of the outlet was in line with the passport reform agenda of the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola to bring passport offices closer and make collection seamless for Nigerians.
He said the contributions of the host communities also added value to the realization of the passport front office in Oyo Town.
The NIS controller, therefore, urged the communities to support the Immigration Service in ensuring that the office is well-maintained and secured for the betterment of all.