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Corrupt NIS officials using passport booklet shortage as excuse to extort Nigerians —Aregbesola



Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday evening, said few corrupt officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service {NIS} are using purported scarcity of passport booklets as an excuse to extort passport applicants.

Aregbesola, who said the few corrupt officials are undermining the efforts of the NIS at sanitising process and bringing integrity to passports application, insisted that there was never a time the NIS had shortage of passport booklets.

The minister said this in Oyo Town while inaugurating the NIS passport front office on Tuesday evening.

Aregbesola said: “One of the challenges facing NIS as regards passports application are the few corrupt officials of the service who are undermining the efforts of the service at sanitising process and bringing integrity to passports application.

“These unscrupulous people are making the situation difficult by the day, if people did not tolerate them, they would not exist again.

“They are the one spreading the rumour that there are no booklets in order to continue to extort the applicants.

“We did not have a shortage of booklets at any given time; we have enough booklets to meet the need of the people.

“There are more than enough booklets in our production schedule.”

Read also: Aregbesola warns Nigeria’s prison officials on corruption

The minister, while appealing to Nigerians to stop patronising touts and report any NIS official manipulating applicants for money, said the NIS has been improving on its services, noting that only few countries could boast of the type of Nigeria passport, which he said “is one of the best in the world”.

He said that the challenges currently facing immigration service included dearth of offices to enrol applicants for data capturing.

Aregbesola, who noted that the challenges were gradually been tackled, especially with the construction of more passport front offices, explained that the inauguration of the new office in Oyo Town would reduce the congestion in the Ibadan centre.

He said that about 5,000 applicants waiting for data capturing in Ibadan centre would be offloaded to the new centre in Oyo, to reduce the challenge of waiting period of data capturing by applicants.

“There is a limit to the number of applicants any passport office can attend to in a day, thus making it impossible to urgently attend to all the applicants necessitating the long waiting period.

“Ibadan can only attend to 450 applicants in a day and that is why we need several locations like this one in Oyo,” he said.

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