The Federal Government will sanitize international passport processing and tackle racketeers both within and outside the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola has said.
Aregbesola made this known on Tuesday at the Roll Out of the Enhanced Electronic Passport and the commissioning of the Passport Production Centre in Port Harcourt.
He said that the major challenge confronting the service in the issuance of passports has not lacked innovation but people and their negative conduct.
‘’We have introduced far-reaching reforms which some unscrupulous elements continue to frustrate and subvert with corrupt acts, these unscrupulous entities are both within our service and outside the service.
‘’The menace of touting, inflation of price, delay in processing application, and withholding of passport, are some of the challenges and we appeal to Nigerians to help eliminate these malpractices, there must be zero tolerance for these practices if we want to build a great nation, he added.
He ranked Nigeria high in the processing of passports.
In his remarks, Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo pledged to partner with the federal government and all security agencies to ensure sanity in the NI office.
Wike expressed satisfaction with the reforms introduced in passport processing and commended the minister for the orderly handling of affairs.
On his part, the Controller-General of the NIS, Mr Isah Idris pledged said that under his leadership, the service will maintain the six weeks timeline for fresh applicants and three weeks for renewals.
He expressed confidence that with the inauguration of the passport production centre, issues of delays would be adequately addressed.