Worried about the humongous amount of unclaimed passport booklets across the nation, the Nigerian Immigration Service ( NIS) has embarked on a sensitisation drive to get Nigerians to shun the use of third party to apply for their passport documents as that is the major cause of the uncollected booklets.
The NIS Comptroller General, Isah Jere Idris who was represented by Assistant Comptroller General ( ACG), Migration Directorate, Abdullahi Usman mni revealed that the current count of unclaimed passport booklets stood at 140,000.
He made this known at the Passport Office Alausa during a fact finding visit while also paid a visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of the service where the Comptroller, CIS Adeola Adesokan revealed plans to improve on facilitation at the gateway.
The ACG who spoke after inspecting activities at Alausa cautioned applicants to shun the use of third parties to apply for their passports as those people do them a disservice by not filling in their accurate details especially phone numbers and email addresses and so when it is time to contact the applicant, there is no communication.
Usman explained,”Why we are here is a directive from the Comptroller General and has observed that there are a lot of uncollected passports in all the passport offices and we have about 100,000 passports unclaimed and apart from that , we still have about 40000 passports produced recently, unclaimed.
” This thing is causing us worry because once you’ve done your own bit and people have not collected it, it causes worry and it’s based on this that we are not there yet. That is why the CGI set up the committee to make sure the unclaimed passports are clearly given to the owners. And again, we came into the field and were able to understand why some were not claimed.
“What are the reasons why we have done the passports and collection has not happened? Before production was the issue due to various factors but now, it is no longer an issue, collection has become the issue now. The reason why passports are not collected are due to unreliable data.
“The addresses are good, phone numbers and emails which are quick to reach are usually not correct and so communication cannot take place with the applicant hence no feedback. This is because the third party uses his or her own phone number and email address and so we cannot communicate with the applicant directly to tell them their passports are ready.
Usman called on applicants to fill their forms by themselves and provide the right details assuring them that they would get their passports as the process is not cumbersome.
Usman also visited the MMIA Command of the Service where the Comptroller, CIS Adesokan hinted him on what they hope to accomplish in terms of facilitation in the new year, she equally gave a breakdown of 2022 in terms of passengers facilitated and revenue generated.
Adesokan told the CGI’s representative that in the year 2022, the command facilitated no fewer than three hundred and fifty eight thousand, nine hundred and fifty- three ( 358,953) passengers from January to December 2022 and a 51,608 arriving via the Visa on Arrival ( VOA) scheme with 32,789 makes and 15,819 females generating a revenue of $4, 916,341
According to Adesokan, everyday no fewer than 3000 passengers were handled and the number doubled during the festive period all done with limited counters especially during peak periods.
She also told the CGI that there are plans to digitalise the clearance system so arriving passengers do not have to come to the airports to start filling their clearance forms but have done it on their phone from the comfort of their homes and it can be synchronised through a QR Code.