Monday, November 28, 2022

Passport officers overworked without compensation to please Nigerians: NIS

“They literally do two shifts without being paid just to make Nigerians happy and satisfy our applicants.”

• November 25, 2022
PASSPORTS; NIS BOSS

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has reiterated its commitment to ensuring timely and efficient service delivery to Nigerians.

At a press briefing on Thursday, the comptroller-general, Isah Jere, represented by Tony Akuneme, said personnel were working extra hours to meet the yearnings of Nigerians.

“Those at the passport unit are working beyond normal hours without being compensated,” Mr Jere said. “They literally do two shifts without being paid just to make Nigerians happy and satisfy our applicants.”

He assured that the service had adopted measures to clear the backlog of passport applications trapped by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mr Jere said he understood the frustration of Nigerians over the delay in getting their travelling documents.

“What we are facing is a deluge, an upsurge in the number of applicants, and it’s actually overstretching our facilities as well,” he said.

He stressed that the upsurge in demand for passports in the last few months is not unconnected with the same upsurge across the globe of post-COVID-19 pressures on migration.

“Currently, it takes an average of two years to get a facility you applied for since COVID-19 started in some countries.

“Before now, it takes one to two months to get your document in Nigeria,” he said.

Mr Jere said it was pertinent to inform Nigerians of the challenges in acquiring travel documents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the period of 2020, all the applicants for Nigerian passports could not be attended to because we didn’t have physical contact with anybody.

“Most of our facilities were shut down during the lockdown, so all the applications built for 2020 were naturally moved over to 2021, and the ones for 2021 were moved over to 2022.”

According to him, there is no shortage of passports but an increase in migrants.

The comptroller-general said measures such as the online application booking process have helped stabilise the process and ensure crowd control.

Mr Jere cautioned Nigerians against offering bribes to any immigration officer to process their documents, saying anyone caught would be prosecuted.

“It is an offence to give bribes to our men; that is why we introduced an online application to discourage direct contact with our men to avoid bribing them,” he said. 

(NAN)

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