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Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede

Immigration creates tags for on-duty officers at MMIA counters

Government’s Ease of Doing Business is still gathering momentum as the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), has tagged the counters of its on-duty personnel at the airport.
Each officer of immigration on duty had removable tag placed against his counter while attending to arriving or departing passengers which officials told our correspondent that it was part of the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government, which came to effect in July 2017.
During a visit by nigerianflightdeck.com correspondent, he observed that all 16 counters for immigration processes for arriving passengers were tagged while the same was also done for outbound passengers.
The tag is removed when an officer finishes his or her duty while a new officer who reports for duty also put his name into the tag for easy identification.
A top officer at the airport who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the Comptroller General Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede ordered the move for proper identification of officers especially those who have contact with passengers.
The service also insisted that its personnel had the right to check the travelling documents of any traveller departing or arriving the country.
According to the source, since the ease of doing business came into being, Babandede had done a lot to check activities at the airport with the introduction of visa on arrival for passengers, stressing that the immigration could refuse a passenger from travelling if they were not sure of his mission abroad.
Mr. James Sunday, the spokesman for the service speaking on phone with our correspondent said that it was within the purview of the service to ensure that anyone departing the country had the necessary document that would aid his or her travelling.
He dismissed reports that immigration officials at the airports ask for grafts from the travelling public, stressing that anyone with complete travelling documents should not entertain any fear when approach by its officials.
He said: “I cannot start to talk on an issue that there is no fact on ground. The fact on the ground is that for anyone that is travelling, I believe by virtue of exposure, one should be able to know the name of the person that is travelling. Also, we have several agencies there that are in mufti and you can’t just attribute anything that happens at the airport to the immigration officers.
“It is not every time that when you are approached at the airport that it is the immigration that approaches you. It’s is not always true. Much as I can’t say much on the issue, I cannot confirm that our officer is involved in any shady deal at the airport. What I can say is that our officers wherever they are posted to, do their best to hold the integrity of the nation.”

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