- worked nights to surmount booklet challenge
THE Ikoyi Passport Office of the Nigeria Immigration service (NIS) has recorded production on the average of 72,000 passports in the last six months with an average collection rate of about 68,000 passports within the same period.
This is just as Nigerianflightdeck.com gathered that the office had to work agonizing night shifts to meet up with the large volume of passport booklet backlogs to enable it avert a monumental debacle.
According to our reporter the number of passports produced (72,000) is significant following the earlier half of the year when there were complains of lack of passport booklets to cater for teeming applicants that trooped to the office.
Nigerianflightdeck.com also learnt of some of the major changes that have eased issuance of passports at the Ikoyi passport office, with regards processes and procedure came as a result of the Controller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede’s drive to make the acquisition of the passport less tedious and remove any form of cash transaction that may lead to gratification of officers.
Narrating how the NIS surmounted the availability of booklet and issuance of back logged passports to applicants, a source who spoke under conditions of anonymity told Nigerianflightdeck.com,”The new management team came in around May and met a lot of files some down to March this year. Then Ikoyi passport office had three months hanging and as we had this three months hanging, we continued to develop more files because the processes of passport issuance had not stopped. ”
“As we were having March we were developing another data bank of June and July and if we start clearing March, we are keeping June , July and so that was a challenge we needed to address.”
“We went straight to service headquarters, told them our findings which we met on ground and requested they supplied us with booklets that would be able to cater this backlog. Fortunately, our CG instructed and the booklets were provided and that addressed an aspect of the problem.”
On how the team was able to produce passports for the backlog of applicants as well as those currently seeking application to renew or acquire the passport, our source explained the process of having to produce it at night to avoid distractions.
“We decided for production section to work in the night so that we can meet up, and so we were doing night operations, most specially the area of production. Because during daytime they were hitches here and there that would be dragging the process and make it slow but in the evening and throughout the night there will be no pressure from anywhere.”
“So our production department work through the night and each night we could produce about 2000 booklets and that was able to cater the backlog.”
However, that done, he explained how the Ikoyi passport office team had to issue the produced passports seamlessly to the teeming applicants while avoiding the chaos it would bring since there were thousands of backlogs.
“Since now, we are producing enmasse, so how do you now cater for collection. Imagine, where over the night we produced 2000 passports. All these passports have been expected for two to three months and the passport then were not ready, they will now be anxious and eager to collect and so the collection will now become overcrowded and if there is no management control for the crowd, it means that in itself will boomerang and make the whole process chaotic,”he told our correspondent.
“So we needed to strategize, how do we do this? We linked up with the service headquarters to increase the point for the collection. Before then we only had a collection point, we developed an open one here, a VIP, near my the Passport Controllers office so we can bring applicants there to decongest having them in one place and make the place crowded.”
“Subsequently, another was opened at the back, so we took the elder and children to the back, the Vip and the youth can go to the general collection area. So the decentralization reduced the crowd to a manageable number.”
“Some people may not have the opportunity of coming during work days, I called the management and explained the problem and a situation of this nature we must be ready to sacrifice and so we work on Saturdays just for collection, so many people who do not have the opportunity to be here working days. Even if they have the opportunity, they may not like to wait longer than necessary.”