Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has queried the Passport Control Officer of the Alausa Passport Office of the Nigerian Immigration Service in Lagos, Mrs B. L. Bukar, for breaching due process in the issuance of passports to Nigerians.
Aregbesola consequently advised Nigerians to follow due process in their passport application and shun patronizing touts who will end up disrupting the standardized procedure.
He said; “I have said it for the umpteenth time that Nigerians must stop patronizing touts either in uniforms or in civilian clothing. The only way for you to apply for your passport is online.
“The attempt to get passports on-the-go and boycott the standardize collection timeline of three weeks for reissue and six weeks for fresh application after capturing, which is the main reason why many patronize touts, will only end up in disappointment.
“Our appointment-based system for capturing applicants data and standardized passport collection procedure has made nonsense of promise by touts to deliver passports to applicants who patronize them. Patronizing them will only end in disappointment,” the Minister stated.
Whilst listening to feedbacky from applicants who were waiting for their data capturing, an applicant complained about the application process, which in his opinion is cumbersome.
“After I completed my application and chose today for my data capturing appointment, I printed every necessary documents, however, on my arrival here, I was asked to start filling a manual form again, which I had filled online and printed already,” the applicant complained.
However, the Minister asked the Passport Control Officer at the station, Mrs B. L. Bukar, to explain the breach of due process, noting that such request was strange. The officer who allegedly sold the obnoxious form and made the request for manual filling was identified and subsequently queried.
Addressing the applicants, the Minister pleaded with Nigerians to totally avoid the urge to patronize touts, stating that if they cooperate with government, the ongoing passport reforms will work and the system will be improved overall.
Ogbeni Aregbesola told the officers on duty that they are servants of the people and this must be reflected in their attitude at work and the way they relate with passport applicants. As such, they should avoid creating false gridlock that frustrates and exasperates the people.
Aregbesola stated that the earlier visit to Kirikiri Custodial Centres and the Alausa Passport office is part of his effort at ensuring that the Ministry and the agencies serve Nigerians to the best of her abilities and to keep the agencies on their toes, knowing that he may walk into any of our service centres at any time.