Immigration boss warns officers against surcharging passport applicants

The Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Muhammad Babandede CGI, has warned passport officers that no extra charges are allowed apart from the approved fees by the Federal Government.

“Nigerians are not to be surcharged but we must serve them sincerely to gain their confidence,” he said, adding that the approved fees are on the website and all official publications of the Service.

Babandede spoke, on Monday, during a virtual meeting he had with all passport officers across the country anchored from the NIS Headquarters Abuja.

He said the unusual time demands working while keeping social and physical distancing, adhering with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols and above all, keeping the workforce on their toes.

He said the meeting was called to address the passport officers nationwide with participants including 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.

The CG also disclosed 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.

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He said the meeting was 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.

Public Relations Officer of NIS, James Sunday, in a statement said the meeting 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 would bring ease and restore the confidence of Nigerians to the process.

He said it was also to enhance the value of the document “The Green Passport Our Pride.”

On the issue of loss and stolen passports, the Immigration chief advised the passport officers to set up tracking mechanism, adding that loss and stolen passports should be treated on their merits and due diligence process should be followed to avoid culpability in Passport related offences.

He noted that passport officers as the frontline officers in the administration and issuance of passport to bonafide Nigerians were exposed, urging them to be safe 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.

 

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