The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS has debunked rumored scarcity of booklets for international passports. It said touts and third party agents hanging around the Ikoyi Passport Control Office in Lagos were creating the erroneous impression to extort unsuspecting applicants.
Assistant Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (ACG), Doris Braimah, Who made this known, said the service was doing everything possible to ensure applicants requesting international passports comply with the prescribed procedures as well as submit relevant documents to qualify for issuance of the document.
She explained that “many unsuspecting Nigerian fall into the hands of unauthorized agents purporting to assist them to procure passports, who feed them with false information that there was scarcity of booklets to force them to cough out more than the prescribed charges.”
Braimah, while calling on Nigerians to follow the standard procedures in procuring international passports, said many people who cannot complete their application forms online, either on account of their low understanding of information technology or lack of time patronize touts who in turn pad up costs of the document.
She said the NIS was working hard by scaling up its information communication and technology facilities to reduce physical interface with applicants as a strategy to eliminate infractions in the system.
Braimah urged applicants who are not thoroughly conversant with the passport acquisition procedure and processes to seek assistance from either the Help Desk or Customer Service Unit for appropriate guidance.
She said the NIS has calibrated its processing and issuance procedures to eliminate third party transactions, which often escalates the cost of procuring passports.
The Assistant Comptroller of Immigration said though, the NIS does not have control over what and who applicants interact with in the bid to secure their passports, there is a need to understand challenges associated with the movement of booklets as very sensitive materials.
“There is no scarcity of passport booklets in any of our offices. It is only a creation of touts, who are spreading the false information to extort money from unsuspecting applicants.
“This is the reason, we advise Nigerians never to patronize touts or third party individuals. We are working hard to reduce physical interface in order to eliminate possible infractions in the system.
“We urge applicants to go through the normal procedures and have their documents completed and filled online before they are attended to”, she added.
She further explained that the reason it appears the issuance process is slow is because passport booklets as sensitive materials cannot be transported unaccompanied.
“When there is stock taking of booklets, we have to ensure appropriate documentation to eliminate any infraction that may arise”, she added.