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Aregbesola: We have enough passport booklets… dishonest officials extorting applicants

Aregbesola: We have enough passport booklets… dishonest officials extorting applicants
May 03
10:27 2023

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, says corrupt officials are undermining the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at sanitising the passport application process.

Speaking on Tuesday in Oyo state while inaugurating the NIS passport front office in the town, Aregbesola said NIS has not, at any given time, experienced shortage of passport booklets.

On Tuesday, the senate directed its committee on interior to investigate the complaints of delay in the renewal and issuance of international passports across the country.

This followed complaints by Nigerians that they could not renew or get fresh passports from the NIS.

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Aregbesola said the excuse of passport shortage is a lie being circulated by a few corrupt officials of the service to extort the applicants.

“One of the challenges facing NIS as regards passports application are the few corrupt officials of the service who are undermining the efforts of the service at sanitising the process and bringing integrity to passports application,” Aregbesola said.

“These unscrupulous people are making the situation difficult by the day. If people did not tolerate them, they will not exist again.

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“They are the ones spreading the rumour that there is no booklet in order to continue to extort the applicants.

“We did not have shortage of booklets at any given time; we have enough booklets to meet the need of the people. There are more than enough booklets in our production schedule.”

Aregbesola appealed to Nigerians to stop patronising the “louts” and report any NIS official extorting applicants for money.

The minister said the NIS has improved its services, adding that only a few countries could boast of the type of passport Nigeria has, which he said “is one of the best in the world”.

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He said the challenges currently facing the immigration service include the dearth of offices to enrol applicants for data capturing.

Aregbesola said the challenges are gradually being tackled, especially with the construction of more passports front offices.

The inauguration of the new office in Oyo town would reduce the congestion in Ibadan centre, he said.

He added that about 5,000 applicants waiting for data capturing in Ibadan centre would be moved to the new centre in Oyo, to reduce the challenge of waiting.

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“There is a limit to the number of applicants any passport office can attend to in a day, thus making it impossible to urgently attend to all the applicants, necessitating the long waiting period,” Aregbesola said.

“Ibadan can only attend to 450 applicants in a day and that is why we need several locations like this one in Oyo.”

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The minister noted that getting an international passport is the right of all Nigerians in and outside the country, and assured that the service would not relent on its mandate of providing passports to all Nigerians.

Mohammed Umar, NIS comptroller in Oyo, said the Ibadan passport centre has been overstressed due to high numbers of applicants.

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He commended the minister for bringing the centre closer to the people and appreciated the people of the town for their contributions in ensuring the realisation of the project.

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