The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has been working to improve the passport application process and ensure integrity in the system.
However, corrupt officials within the service have been undermining these efforts, according to the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
Speaking at the inauguration of the NIS passport front office in Oyo Town, Aregbesola highlighted the challenges facing the service. He stated that corrupt officials are spreading rumors of passport booklet shortages in order to extort applicants for money.
Aregbesola refuted these claims, saying that there are enough booklets in the production schedule to meet the demand. News About Nigeria reports.
The minister appealed to Nigerians to stop patronizing touts and report any NIS officials who manipulate applicants for money. He also emphasized the need to sanitize the process and bring integrity to passport application.
The challenges currently facing the immigration service include a dearth of offices to enroll applicants for data capturing. Aregbesola noted that the construction of more passport front offices will help address this issue.
The inauguration of the new office in Oyo Town will reduce congestion in the Ibadan center and offload approximately 5,000 applicants waiting for data capturing.
The minister stated that getting an international passport is 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.
The NIS Comptroller in Oyo State, Mohammed Umar, also commended the minister for bringing the center closer to the people and appreciated the people of the town for their contributions in ensuring the realization of the center.
In conclusion, corruption in the passport application process is a major challenge for the Nigeria Immigration Service. However, the inauguration of the new passport front office in Oyo Town is a step towards addressing this issue and ensuring integrity in the system. The NIS must continue to work towards sanitizing the process and providing efficient services to all Nigerians.