NIS Urges Passport Applicants To Follow Protocol, Refrain From Patronising Touts

NIS Urges Passport Applicants To Follow Protocol, Refrain From Patronising Touts

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has urged Nigerians who wished to apply for international passports to always follow due protocol and refrain from patronising touts.

The NIS Imo Command gave the advice in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Cosmos Herbert and made available to our correspondent in Owerri on Wednesday.

He noted that NIS, in recent times, was rated as one of the most improved agencies of government in terms of service delivery.

Herbert explained that to maintain international standards and best practices, the service made acquisition of Nigerian international passport a non-monetary transaction.

“We encourage Nigerians who wish to obtain Nigerian international passports to follow due protocol and refrain from patronising touts. Applicants wishing to get passports should visit the NIS official website.

“The site will grant you access to fill the passport application form and make payments online as stipulated,” he said.

Herbert, who gave detailed information of the online registration, said that most people due to lack of patience, patronised touts who made them to pay more than expected.

“While we advise Nigerians not to wait until passport becomes urgent need before they apply for one, we also urge them to follow due protocol and stop patronising touts and some recalcitrant officers who may take advantage of their ignorance,” he said.

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He also advised victims to report such dubious entities to relevant authorities at the command headquarters for investigations, assuring that any officer found wanting would be sanctioned.

The command’s spokesman further explained that as an agency of government, the service carried out functions in line with the rules and regulations of the extant laws that birthed the organisation.

He noted that as such, the fees for passports and other travel documents were controlled by the Federal Government and in public domain.

Herbert

said that the allegation of backlog of files in Owerri NIS passport office and the challenge faced with the supplies of passport booklets was not peculiar to Imo Command.

According to him, Imo Command never stopped production of passports but works with the supplies available to it and never had a backlog of about 5,000 files at any point, as alleged in certain quarters.

He said that any backlog incurred by the command was cleared during the recent COVID-19 lockdown while adequate notices were put up for applicants to come and pick their passports with no extra fees charged.

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Herbert described as a figment of imagination and fallacy the idea that passport seekers travelled to neighbouring states to acquire passports because of the high cost in Imo.

He said that passport seekers could only travel to neighbouring states if Owerri passport office witnessed heavy influx of passport applicants.

“The reason for this development is not far-fetched. Every last quarter of the year and first quarter of the New Year are regarded as peak periods in Owerri passport office.

“This is because of the increase in the number of returnees who scramble to the Owerri passport office to obtain their passports within the shortest possible time to enable them travel back to their countries of residence after festivities.

“As a result, passport seekers who are not patient enough to stand in the queue, decide to travel to neighbouring states to obtain their passports. The notion that they get it cheaper in other states is totally false.

“Passport fees are officially the same in all passport offices nationwide,” he said.

The command expressed profound gratitude to members of the public for their support and pledged unalloyed loyalty and dedication in their service to the Nigerian public and Imo State in particular.

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