NIS Denies Corruption Allegations In Passport Issuance


Officers at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Passports Office, Alausa has denied allegations of corruption in the issuance of International Passport to Nigerians.
Responding to a report by an online news platform (Not The Guardian) that the passport office has turned den for extortion, sources at the Alausa Passport Office, insisted that the agency has accredited agents, who were brought in to assist applicants.
According to the sources, because a lot of the applicants complained that they could not do the online registration nor pay fees through E-Transact, Cyber Café operators around the neighbourhood, the operators of cybercafé were allowed near the office for applicants’ easy access.
He said the office also adopted that approach because NIS personnel were relegating their duties to assist applicants do registration, which was not supposed to we.
The sources that are mainly Immigration officers in the office said: “E-Passport is a cashless and participatory idea. Applicants play their parts and NIS officers do theirs. People are expected to log on to the website, do their payments; bring all documents to the passport office, where we take over and process within a time limit.
“But we discovered people used to complain about payments. They could not do the E-transacts. That was why NIS officers started assisting in doing payment. That led to the job suffering and we decided to bring Cyber Cafés closer so that they can assist the applicants who couldn’t do it on their own and our personnel can face their jobs.
“Accredited cafés were allowed around passport offices. Applicants patronize them and they do their things without interference from the NIS. We do not take part in it. But along the line, we discovered that some of these applicants complained that they were being charged far beyond the official rates.
“The business centre owners were invited and they explained that they were doing so to cover the cost of their Internet subscription, their time and intellect. At that point, we told applicants to do their registration anywhere they can and just bring the documents since we could not force the business owners to collect any amount.
“It is not true that they are within the premises because they are not allowed here. It is also false that we do not have information desk.”
Spokesman for the service, James Sunday, an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration who reacted to the matter on telephone, said the Comptroller General (CG), Muhammad Babandede has ordered immediate probe into the allegations, insisting that anyone found culpable would be dealt with.
Sunday said: “The CG has given a directive for the investigation of the allegations and that is what we are doing. I can tell you for sure that we do not have accredited agents.
“The guidelines for application for international passport are clearly stated in our website. We also sent out our customer feedback number, 
07080607900 and email address for Nigerians to contact us.
“The problem is that Nigerians like to look for shortcut and so they fall into the hands of people who fleece them. They prefer to do things through the backdoor. They need to know that every office opened by the NIS has a duty to serve them.”

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