Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, has reportedly warned Nigerians to stop cutting corners, while applying for travel passports and visas, to avoid extortion and corruption.
The minister reportedly made this known, while launching the enhanced e-Passport facility and inauguration of the passport production centre at the Enugu Passport Office.
According to him, “The online application system is designed to eliminate personal contact, other than for biometric purposes.”
He noted, “This is to curb corruption, extortion and inflation. But as long as applicants try to cut corners, they defeat our purpose and create avoidable problems.”
He maintained, “The first problem that arises is unfulfilled expectations. Touts and officials are not in any position to guarantee anything.”
He added, “Promising an applicant an express service, therefore, is a scam. It is bound to end in disappointment and for most part it does. I will appeal, therefore, to applicants to follow the path we provide through the online portal. That is the only reliable and assuring path to procuring a Nigerian passport. If you pay money to any Immigration staff member, you can be arrested and charged with bribery and inducement.”
While commenting on the launching of the online application system, Aregbesola stated that, “Today’s event is unique in many ways. The most important is making the enhanced e-Passport available to the good people of the South East. The enhanced e-Passport comes in various categories, including the 64-page 10-year validity period passport, which is quite convenient for frequent travellers. It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance.”
He posited, “Only very few countries in the world can boast of it as of today. The document is of higher grade with additional 25 security features than the one currently in use. It is polycarbonate in design and therefore water-resistant. It cannot be compromised by counterfeiters and identity thieves.”
He noted, “The NIS has continued to ensure that the Nigerian passport satisfies all the standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.”
He also remarked, “The Interior ministry appreciates the volume of economic activities in the South-East and the rising number of citizens from the region, who have strong international dimension to their businesses and socio-economic pursuits. They need the travel document. It is our responsibility to provide it for them within the shortest possible time at a reasonable price and without any hassle.”