THE Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has cautioned officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) against passport fraud, racketeering, and delay in administration.
Aregbesola, during the commissioning of the NIS Enugu State Command Office Complex, which was damaged during the #ENDSARS protest last year, said the integrity of the document must be maintained at all times.
The minister said, “Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship; that is why the integrity of that document is of utmost importance to us. In light of this, can we really say we have best served the Nigerian citizens in passport issuing and renewal?
“We all know this cannot be true because the process is seriously fraught with racketeering, fraud, delay, and mistreatment of the applicants. This should not be so. We must trust ourselves. From the highest of us to the lowest of us, we must ensure that Nigerian people get good service.”
The minister stated that the Federal Government was working on reforming passport administration, adding that there had been resistance and little progress was being made.
“We must all subscribe to the reform; doing the right thing requires making sacrifices and getting out of our comfort zones. This does not apply to our officers alone,” he said.
According to the minister, people who apply for the document must also exercise restraint and exhibit some decorum.
He said, “If you insist on inducing these officers, it is also possible for them to receive.” Emphasizing service, the minister noted that the objective of NIS is to serve Nigerians and not exploit them.
“At the heart of government credibility is service to people. The Nigerian people are the boss; you must take pride in serving them, not in exploiting them, not in bullying them, not in undermining them. The Nigerian people are unmistakably the boss. This consciousness must permeate the way you conduct your business and the way you relate with the people.”
Aregbesola describing the NIS Enugu office complex as the biggest in the country, and urged officers in the command to ensure its maintenance.
He said, “I must thank the government of the state for this provision. This is the biggest Command I have seen in terms of space in the country. As we are thanking the government of Enugu, we are urging the officers here to plant trees.
“Register your name; if you are an officer here, plant a tree to register your name before you leave here. That’s my charge. You must plant a tree that must bear your name in this facility.”
The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammed Babandede, also urged officers and men of the command to be loyal and patriotic to the nation in the discharge of their duties.