The fear of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, is now the beginning of wisdom for anyone that wants to obtain International passport.
Many Nigerians now have to travel miles to obtain the document.
Unfortunately, the number keep increasing daily due to security and financial situation of the country.
over the years, the NIS had witnessed series of changes since it was extracted from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in 1958.
The immigration department, as it was known then, was entrusted with the core immigration duties under the headship of the Chief Federal Immigration Officer (CFIO) and the first to sit on that chair was in the person of Mr. eh Harrison.
The department in its emergent stages inherited the immigration ordinance of 1958 for its operation. at inception, the department had a narrow operational scope and maintained a low profile and simple approach in attaining the desired goals and objectives of government.
During this period, only the visa and business sections were set up.
But on the 1st of August 1963, the Nigeria Immigration Service was established by an act of parliament with the legal instrument to combat smuggling of migrants in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Immigration Service has 8 directorates, 8 zonal offices, 36 state command and federal capital territory, as well as immigration offices in the 774 local government areas.
Aside border security, the service is also saddled with the responsibility of issuing passport.
Radio Nigeria investigation into the operation of NIS at its office located at Agodi- gate, Ibadan, Oyo state indicates that the office is a beehive of activities ranging from food vendors, business centers, fruit sellers to applicants seeking international passports.
it was observed that the number of applicants was increasing daily between 200 and 400.
Unfortunately not all of them were attended to, as there were inadequate equipment to serve such a large number.
it was observed that nothing less than four officers stand at the entrance of the office in their cream and khaki color uniform to woo first timers
Furthermore, the office could not conveniently accommodate people who visited for one thing or the other as there were not enough seats making some of them stand on their toes for hours while others were compelled to sit under a shed.
If the adults could tolerate the discomforting scenario, the babies were not ready for such as they were taking turns to express their displeasure by crying aloud for all to hear.
Some people who spoke with Radio Nigeria decried the situation saying it was high time the federal government addressed the problem of inadequate accommodation and delay in obtaining a passport.
One of them explained that she arrived early but was not attended to until nine hours later when she and some other youths caused a commotion when they noticed some people were being given preferential treatment.
Another applicant explained that after paying the sum of sixty thousand naira to an officer to fast track the processing, he was still refered to ekiti for capturing and additional fifteen thousand naira will be paid.
The elderly ones of over 60 years of age were given fair treatment as they were attended to as they come.
On the issue of delay as against three to six weeks passport processing period stipulated in the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service and as emphasized by the miniMster of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, applicants that are willing to be law abiding will have to wait for a longer period.
What could be responsible for this? an officer of the NIS? An officer of the NIS who does not want his name mentioned explained that there was only one production machine for six states namely oyo, ogun osun , ekiti, ondo and kwara which cannot satisfy the required 200 per day maximum printing of the device.
Though it was stated in the NIS site that an applicant is expected to pay 35,000 naira for 32 pages of passport and 75000 naira for 64 pages, unfortunately this was not always the story as many people have to pay more to fast-track the process.
Some applicants opened can of worms
“where we sat waiting for hours for them to attend to us, we discovered that the amount differs between 40000 and 70000 naira,”
” i paid the officer ₦60000 since march, till now i have not being able to do any capturing despite the additional ₦25000″
Confirming this allegation, our reporter disguised as an applicant and she was told the amount to pay if she really needed a passport
“madam the official price is ₦35000 for 32 pages passport, you will add ₦10000 as processing fee but your capturing will not be immediate , however if you can pay ₦75,000,you can get it within two to three days.do you believe nigeria government….”
I was at the ibadan NIS office visited ,despite the crowd, the officers were pleasant enough as they were frequently explaining reasons for the delay to the people.
” we are sorry for keeping you waiting,our central server in abuja is down and our officers are working hard to rectify it”
Also at the NIS office, some traders in the area are smiling daily to the banks with good profit from their businesses due to large number of people that daily visit the place.
Radio Nigeria Correspondent ’s efforts to speak with the head of the zone was not successful as she was directed to their national office in the federal capital territory, abuja.
Radio Nigeria investigative reporters who was in the Nigeria Immigration Service at agodi-gate ibadan for four days to investigate the many flaws at the place reported that nothing less than four officers in uniform stayed at the gate to woo intending applicants.