The Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Isah Idris, has blamed the delay in the issuance of passports on the integration of data between NIS, and the National Identity Management Commission.
He gave the reason in a media briefing on Saturday, warning Nigerians against bribing immigration officials.
Idris said the single data integration policy of the government is aimed at enhancing the nation’s security architecture to protect the identity of Nigerians.
The immigration boss lamented the increasing number of Nigerians seeking override of the newly introduced appointment system for passport issuance, describing it as an abuse of the system.
He said the appointment system was introduced to reduce physical interface with personnel, overcrowding and arbitrariness, which he noted had all consistently combined to promote corruption and abuse.
Idris said, “The delay in the processing of passport applications could be as a result of the integration of data between NIS and the NIMC, which also in turn integrate with the BVN data of applicants.
“Apart from this, because passports confer on holders the integrity of a nation, the integrity of producing such documents should also not be compromised. So, we must verify the addresses of the applicants and there is a company that already does that for us. We must confirm the authenticity of the claims before we proceed with production.
“Nigerians should not induce our officers by giving them money. It won’t make anything fast for them. We have ensured a corruption-free process.”
The acting CGI appealed to Nigerians in diaspora facing difficulties with passports, saying that access to forex has been difficult for the company handling the passport production project.
He said the NIS has a mandate to renew passports within three weeks and complete new applications in six weeks.
The acting comptroller general of NIS also said the commission had launched an online appointment system.
“Like parcels sent through logistic companies or visa applications, we have introduced a tracking system so that people can stay in the comfort of their rooms and know the status of their passport applications.
“You don’t need to offer anyone any kobo. All that you need to do is to log into our website on www.trackimmigration.gov.ng, upload the required details and see an immediate response on the status of your passports,” he said.
He noted within the next four weeks NIS would deploy a new system for applicants to validate their national identity numbers before they can proceed to make payment for passports online and book appointments for capturing.
“Most delays are usually caused by the NIN validation problems and what we want to do now will allow individual applicants to, first of all, verify and validate their NIN and only upload validated NIN before they can pay for passports. By doing that, we would have successfully tackled the issue of delay from other partners which we don’t have control over,” he said.
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