FG Has Digitalised Payment For Passport, Stop Patronizing Unscrupulous Officials, Says Aregbesola

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    By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
    Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday, advised citizens to avoid patronizing touts and unscrupulous officials when applying for Nigerian passports.
    He disclosed that the Federal Government has digitalized payments for passports.
    Aregbesola, stated this in Ibadan, during the rollout of the Enhanced e-Passport with Polycarbonate Data Page and other security features.
    The minister hinted that part of the reforms was the migration of passport applications and payments to digital platforms.
    He said: “But we regret to observe that applicants still patronise touts and unscrupulous officials in the hope to beat the system and get expedited services.
    “When they were disappointed, they come to report to us. Of course, we have zero tolerance for corruption and subversion of due process. We, therefore, take seriously any such report and invoke the necessary disciplinary measures.
    “But I will implore applicants to stop patronizing 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. Patronizing touts and passport office officials don’t always end well, but rather serves to defeat our purpose of eliminating corruption and infusing integrity to the passport administration process.”
    Speaking on the new application process, the minister noted that a new timeline has been set for fresh passport application and reissue.
    “Our template stipulates maximum six weeks for obtaining new passports and maximum of three weeks for renewal. We work within this schedule to enable us investigate any claims made by applicants and verify them, for the final document we issue them to have integrity.
    “If there are challenges, wait, eventually you will get your passport before your due date of travel if you apply early enough. You will still have long enough time to apply for visa and other travel documents.
    “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,” Aregbesola stated.
    On the new enhanced passport being rolled out, the minister noted that the passport is an improved document with high-security features.
    “The Enhanced e-Passport is a great improvement on the Biometric Passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a deliberate step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of travel document fraud associated with the old Machine-Readable Passport regime.
    “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 added.
    He, however, said the facility will serve all the southwest states, which will also include Kwara State.
    Speaking during the event, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Isah Jere, reiterated the call by the minister for citizens to stop patronizing touts.
    Also speaking at the event, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Segun Ogunbiyi, lauded the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service, saying the state will continue to support the service in performing its statutory duty.
    Also at the event were the Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji represented by the Eekefa Balogun, Chief Sarafadeen Alli; service chiefs of all the paramilitary services in the state, amongst others.
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