By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Muhammad Babandede has warned officers at the passport offices against charging of unofficial fees.
Babandede, who gave the warning on Monday during a virtual meeting in Abuja directed that no extra charges were allowed apart from the approved fees that were on the NIS website and all official publications of the Service.
Emphasising that Nigerians are not to be surcharged, the NIS Comptroller said they are to be served sincerely in order to gain their confidence.
Deputy Comptroller of Immigration and the National Public Relations Officer of NIS, DCI Sunday James in statement made available to the press explained that the CGI, summoned the meeting to address the Passport Officers nationwide.
According to the NIS spokespersons, the meetings presided over by the Comptroller General has in attendance all the key leading officers of the service in passport offices nationwide.
James stated that participants included the Zonal Coordinators of the Eight (8) Zones of the Service; Zone A to H and all the State Command Comptrollers as well as the Lagos State Passport Command among others.
At the meeting, Babandede directed that no extra charges were allowed apart from the approved fees that were on our website and all official publications of the Service. Nigerians are not to be surcharged but we must serve them sincerely to gain their confidence.
He said: “We live in an unusual time that demands working while keeping social and physical distancing, adhering with NCDC protocols and above all, keeping the workforce on their toes.
“The meeting, virtual in nature, has a great impact in redirecting the efforts of CGI Babandede towards rejuvenating and reinvigorating the new order in Passport processing and procedure, adoption of processes that will bring ease and restore confidence of Nigerians to the process. It is also to enhance the value of the document “The Green Passport Our Pride”.
“He also emphasized that Automatic Passport Reminder system is being test run at the Service headquarters where payment and other process status are being communicated to the applicant in the form of feedback and that same should be implemented by all the Passport officers.
The Passport Officers as the frontline officers in the administration and issuance of Passport to bonafide Nigerians are exposed, they were as well cautioned on the need to be safety and health conscious in handling both the Passport and attending to the applicants by observing prescribed NCDC protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 from person to person and material to person while rendering service to the public.
“The meeting is to set the pace for enforcement of compliance on payment for passport online, and that all the Passport Officers should establish a Front Desk office for our teaming applicants so as to ensure applications are submitted directly to the institution and not to individuals.
“On the issue of loss and stolen Passports, the Passport Officers were advised to set up tracking mechanism. Hence, loss and stolen Passports should be treated on their merits and due diligence process should be followed to avoid culpability in Passport related offences.”