The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed that about 97,000 passport booklets issued were uncollected in the 36 states nationwide including Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with Lagos State having half of the uncollected passports.
Penpushing reports that Comptroller of Immigration Service Public Relations Officer, (SPRO) Tony Akuneme, made the disclosure, adding that there was also a danger that half of the owners of the uncollected passports could not be reached due to a lack of proper documentation because of third-party involvement.
The Public Relations Officer stated that the essence of a state of emergency declaration was to draw the attention of the media so they could deepen the process for the service as a lot of people do not know if their passports were ready for collection.
“Some of them engaged agents to help them in their passport processing and these agents might be doing this for a lot of persons. They end up dropping wrong contacts and thereby making it difficult to reach out to the owners of these passports when they are ready for collection. This is a big challenge,” he said.
Penpushing further reports that it is recalled that the Acting Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Caroline Adepoju, recently declared a state of emergency on passport issues across the country.
The Service spokesperson explained that the service recently found out that most applicants’ complaints also bother on some human factors and technical factors which included the slow speed of the Internet.
Penpushing also reports that the Public Relations Officer emphasized that the Comptroller General didn’t want to leave anyone in doubt as to the issue of passport processing being her core area of interest.
‘That’s how she came about that term of declaring a state of emergency in the passport issues. When the acting CG assumed office, she made it very clear that she was going to focus on passport reforms and staff welfare’, he said.
Penpushing reports that Adepoju disclosed that the Lagos State Governor is willing to collaborate with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in terms of expanding the passport services in Lagos State.
‘So, we went to Lagos State Governor to help in terms of giving us office space where we can set up front desk offices and immediately, the governor was very positive in his response Lagos is a tourist place and immigration has a key role to play in the mind of anybody visiting the state’, he said
‘So it was a welcome development and you can see that the state of emergency that was declared is already yielding fruits as the governor accepted CGs request on land allocation to build staff quarters in Lagos,” he added
Penpushing further reports that the Comptroller of Immigration Service Public Relations Officer said that the service, however, needed the media to tell Nigerians that people should not think there were no passport booklets.
‘There are booklets issued that are not collected. It is ironic, we don’t have problem of booklet, we don’t have shortage of booklets. What we have had in the last one or two years is a sudden upsurge in the number of Nigerians wanting to travel. We felt it was also related to COVID-19,” he said.
Penpushing also reports that the Public Relations Officer assured that the result would be instant as more facilities were going to be put in place to curtail any challenges of passport issuance across the country.
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