Acting Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Idris Isah Jere made this known after a sting operation covertly carried out at the passport offices in Alausa and Ikoyi both in Lagos and has decried how the documentation process is being flouted by officers with Nigerians feeling the brunt of this action.
He gave a two week deadline in which he said he will enforce certain reforms that would turn around this negative trend explaining that he was not happy with reports he was getting and hence the need to go undercover and see first hand, if the stories were true.
According to Jere, he had to disguise himself and go through the passport process only to discover that a 32-page five (5) year standard passport which is obtained for N27,000 is issued at N45,000 while a 32 page ten (10) year document goes for N45,000 instead of N37,000.
He also decried that a 64 page ten 10 year document obtained at N72,000 goes for N95,000 in those passport offices stating that the undercover operation was done without the knowledge of the passport control officers (PCOs)
He said,”I decided to disguise myself and come to Lagos as a passport applicant to see what nigerian are going through to get the passport. I visited Alausa and Ikoyi and in the two offices I was given a menu of passport prices both the 32 and 64 paged documents for five and ten years accordingly.
“The 32 paged document go for N45,000 instead of N27,000 that is for 5 years while for 32 paged document for 10 years go for N45,000 instead of N37,000. The 64 page ten year document go for N95,000 instead of N72,000. For the other document I said I don’t have, I was charged N3,500 so put together I was asked to pay N98,500 without any documents. So you can see the challenge.
“You see we have a challenge with documentation and we need to strengthen documentation process. The document has integrity but there are flaws in the issuance process and we need to strengthen the issuance process.
He lamented that officers were involved in the dastardly act that has brought disrepute to the service stressing, ” There are officers, we have taken their names and everything, they don’t know. The next line of action would be to institute disciplinary action against these officers.
” there is supposed to be an office where you present yourself and someone attends to you officially but someone comes, picks you by the wayside takes you to the side adds whatever he wants to add and continues , the system is bad.
On the PCOs he said,” Non of the PCO is aware of the visit and that shows how poor it is, they are not aware, I came in did whatever I had to and walked out.
He also stressed that touts were involved but could not do so without the help of officers within the service stressing that plans were underway to break the circle.
” How I intend to break it is I assure that in the next two weeks, you’d see the changes. Already we have a system in place where you can key in, book for an appointment and come and snap and go without using touts. members of the public must know that they can pay online without having to come to the office but mostly you see cash exchanging hands, this shouldn’t be, I assure you in the next two weeks something will be done.”