By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—Newly posted comptroller of Ikoyi/Festac Passport Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Sessi Patrick Adeshola, said yesterday that the command had put in place intelligence/surveillance unit to checkmate touts and unscrupulous officers from engaging in passport racketeering.
He spoke in reaction to allegation of activities of touts around the command premises.
Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja, Comptroller Adeshola also assured that under his watch, passports would be issued to prospective applicants within a week after receiving the application.
Adeshola, who resumed office in January this year, disclosed further that since he took over the command, no case of criminal breach of the processes of issuance of passport had been reported.
He said: “This is a surprise to me. If you approach the entrance of any of my passport offices, there is a very conspicuous bill board which warns both officers and applicants not to patronise touts. If you go into any of our premises, you can’t find any tout.
“I have a special surveillance/intelligence unit that works around the clock to ensure that this is not allowed. A stern warning has been handed down that any officer who is caught in this act will be shown the way out and be made to face our orderly room disciplinary trial.
“Since officers have been sensitised on the need to steer clear of any form of illegality and connivance with unscrupulous elements in the issuance process, I make bold to say that they have complied and no single forgery has been reported since my assumption of duty in January.”
He further assured that, the e-passport had security features that had made it tamper- proof.
“The essence of e-passport was to completely get rid of any forgery and multiple ownership with all the security arrangements in obtaining it. We have a central data base in Abuja where approval is given before issuance,” he added.
He also added that, under his command, the processes of issuance of passports would not exceed one week at the most, saying, “all things being equal a maximum period of one week.”