No fewer than 80 officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) have gone on trial for indulging in the collection of illegal fees for the issuance of new passports and renewal of old ones.
The service spokesperson, Tony Akuneme, who disclosed this in an interview on Sunday in Abuja, also indicated that eight other officers had been dismissed for the same offence in the last year.
“We have continued to punish NIS officers and men who try to assist people for a fee. You can assist people genuinely but not extort from them,” he said.
He said the disciplinary measures under the passport reform were part of the three-point agenda of the present Comptroller General (CG), NIS, Isah Jere, when he came on board.
Mr Akuneme also said the CG’s three-point agenda includes reforming passport issuance, tightening border security and improving the welfare of NIS officers.
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“We have tried as much as possible to eliminate third parties so that if you really want, you can process the application of your passport from the comfort of your room on your laptop, android phone, and you can pay online.
“The problem we have is the use of third parties because no matter how much reform you put in, you will always see a learned and civilised person using a third party to process his or her application.
“And one thing they don’t understand is that third parties don’t have an idea of the information entered into your application. This can result in somebody having issues with his/her National Identification Number (NIN),” he said.
The NIS spokesman said that the CG has vowed to discipline officers who go out of their way to try to either engage or sabotage the reform process.
He urged Nigerians to desist from patronising agents.
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