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FG cautions Nigerians against patronising touts for passports

By News Desk

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has advised Nigerians against patronising touts and unscrupulous officials when applying for passports, saying the process had been digitalized for citizens convenience and to also minimize fraudulent activities.

He said that patronising touts and unscrupulous passport officials did not always end well but rather defeated the purpose of eliminating corruption and infusing integrity to the passport administration process.

The minister said that the ministry observed with regret that applicants still patronised touts and unscrupulous officials to beat the system and get expedited services.

Aregbesola gave the advice in Ibadan on Monday, during the rollout of the enhanced e-passport and inauguration of Ibadan passport production Centre. He said that the payment for Nigerian passports had been digitalised.

“When they are disappointed, they come to report to us. Of course, we have zero tolerance for corruption and subversion of due process. We take seriously any such report and invoke the necessary disciplinary measures.

“I will implore applicants to stop patronising touts and our officials directly. Follow the process we put in place; apply for passports and pay online. The only engagement with our staff is the enrolment of your biometrics,” he said.

Aregbesola said that the timeline for the process of passport application for fresh applicant was six weeks maximum and three weeks maximum for renewal.

“We work within this schedule to enable us investigate any claims made by applicants and verify them for the final document. If there are challenges, eventually you will get your passport before your due date of travel, if you apply early enough. Nowhere in the world is passport administration done on wait-and-get basis except in extreme emergencies. The only wait-and-get passport is passport photograph,” he said.

The minister noted that the new enhanced e-passport being rolled out was an improved document with high security features. “It is the latest technology in passport making anywhere in the world and only few countries have it. It is the most secure identity document ever produced. We are proud to make it available to Nigerians,” Aregbesola said.

The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isah Jere, said that the enhanced e-passport had two categories of 32 pages with five years validity and 64 pages with 10 years validity.

Also speaking, the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, lauded the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service and pledged the cooperation of his administration to the service. He was represented by his Chief of Staff, Segun Ogunwuyi.

In attendance were the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Olubadan of Ibadan represented by Ekefa Balogun, Chief Sarafadeen Ali and heads of all paramilitary services in the state, amongst others.

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