The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede, has decried the aiding and abetting of foreigners by some personnel of the Service to secure Nigerian passports and to illegally extend their work permits in the country, saying offending officers caught would henceforth be prosecuted and that they risk 10 years behind bars.
Babandede, who addressed officers and men of all the NIS formations under Zone A in Lagos lamented the corruption and sharp practices among immigration personnel, noting that genuine applicants for Nigerian passports were often subjected to various abuses with extortion of monies from them by Immigration officers prior to be granted their passports.
Babandede at the event also announced the commencement of the issuance of the new 10-year, 64-page validity electronic passports on Tuesday (June 25, 2019), noting that children under 18 years of age would not be allowed to apply for the new passport.
He explained that the rapid changes in the facial and physical features of children made it imperative to limit them to passports with a 5-year validity, as it is certain that they will overgrow and no longer bear the exact features recognisable at Immigration entry points at home or abroad if allowed to carry a 10-year passport.
The Immigration boss explained that the new e-passport would be linked to data from the National Identity Management Services and the Bank Verification Numbers of bearers.
Babandede also called on officers and men to comply with Presidential Executive Order 01 on Transparency and Ease of Doing Business, stating that NIS, as an elite service, must contribute its quota to the economic development of the country through facilitation of a corrupt-free environment for drect foreign investment (DFI).
“Officers must change their attitude towards service delivery, as President Muhmmadu Buhari’s government has provided the enabling environment for the Service to discharge its responsibilities without let or hindrance,” he said.
Babandede further encouraged NIS personnel to take advantage of facilities provided by the Service to build their capacity, especially in ICT, saying that the Service will soon start conducting e-based promotion exercises.