NIS lacks capacity to produce passports, CERPAC cards, Reps told

Abba Moro, Former Minister of Interior, at the Federal High Court, Abuja over 2014 Immigration recruitment scam in Abuja on 29/02/16. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Abba Moro, Former Minister of Interior, at the Federal High Court, Abuja over 2014 Immigration recruitment scam in Abuja on 29/02/16. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, yesterday stunned the parliament when he told the members that the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) did not have what it takes to produce international passports booklets and the Combined Expatriate Resident Permit Green Card (CERPAC).

This revelation came as the Comptroller General of NIS, Michael Kure Ibeshi, said though the service is in charge of management of passports, visa and CERPAC, it did not have control over the data base.

The duo spoke at a National Assembly-organized investigative hearing into the contracts awarded by the Federal Ministry of Interior and the NIS to various companies for outsourcing of expatriate residency management and borders facilitation by the House of Representatives Committee on Interior.

Moro told the committee that because the various agreements entered into with different companies were not judiciously implemented, the NIS personnel were not properly trained to take over from the service providers in accordance with the letters of the agreements.

“I have read some of the agreements; in some of them, it is to train our personnel (NIS) to take over from the organisation involved in the PPP. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reasonably implement our agreements.

“As at today, it is not correct to say that the NIS has the capacity to implement these projects. As at today, I am saying the NIS does not have the capacity for passports production and CERPAC forms”, he told the committee yesterday.

On allegations that Nigerians go through difficulties to obtain international passports, Moro faulted the claim, saying the administration of Goodluck Jonathan simplified the process by introducing a 64-page passport and 10-finger biometric registration.

Speaking on the operations of CONTEC, one of the companies being investigated in the contracts, the former minister said “CONTEC does not issues passports or CERPAC; it sells CERPAC cards. It only produces the passports.”

But another former minister of interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho disagreed with Moro, insisting that the CERPAC contracts were a conduit pipe used for siphoning the government monies. He said the only solution is for the NIS to be well equipped to take over the CERPAC project.

Also in his submission, Maj. Gen. Godwin Abbe (rtd), a former minister under late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua told the committee that when he was appointed, he noticed some anomalies in the contract with CONTEC and “my only position was that CONTEC should not continue with the contract because it bordered on the security of the nation.”
The acting permanent secretary to the Ministry of interior, Alhaji Mohammed Maccido who represented the minister, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd) during the investigation told the panel that the minister had constituted a committee to review some of the contentious contracts and make appropriate recommendations.

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