Citizens blame Immigration for high cost of international passports
MANY Nigerians seeking to procure International Passports at Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) passport offices are groaning over the high cost of acquiring the travel document.
They have however blamed the new NIS boss, Mr. Martin Abeshi, for his insincerity in actually fighting corruption, which has eaten deep at the passport offices across the country, especially in Lagos.
Abeshi had pledged to fight corruption at passport offices and ensure that Nigerians pay actual and approved amount to procure passports in the country, but barely two months of his assumption of office, it has remained business as usual as many passport seekers pay exorbitantly to acquire the travel document.
During his visit to Lagos, the Comptroller-General had rekindled the hope of poor Nigerians being extorted by ‘black-hearted’ Immigration officers at passport offices and airport gateways by urging its officers to desist from soliciting for gratification or demanding extra fee from passport applicants. He had warned that anyone found culpable would be shown the way out of the service.
Abeshi gave the warning during his on-the-spot visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Ikeja passport office where he pleaded with officers to learn to live within their means.
“It is now a crime for any officer to collect more than what government approved that applicants should pay. Change is real and we will enforce it. We are lacking in so many things because of corrupt practices. We all should support our President to stop corruption.
“Meanwhile, NIS is taking the welfare of our officers and men very seriously. We shall look at various proposals on welfare schemes, just as we invite suggestions from all in this regard.”
He described this act as not just unethical, embarrassing but also destroys the image of the service.
According to the new CG, in the era of change, there is need for every officer to change his or her ways to be in tandem with the spirit of the new Nigeria as navigated by President Buhari. “We must be determined to shun corrupt practices and become Nigeria’s good public relations officers. Officers who fail to fall in line will be shown the way out,” he said.
Nigerians have also blamed the Comptroller-General for making the process of obtaining passports cumbersome, adding that NIS personnel take advantage of the procedure to extort Nigerians.