The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the closure of its passport offices nationwide in order to clear the backlog of passport issuance.
The closure of the offices will be from midnight May 18 to May 31, and portals have also been closed henceforth to ensure there is no passport application.
The Comptroller General (CG) of the Service, Muhammad Babandede, who announced this in Abuja after decorating 30 Assistant Comptroller Generals (AGG), who were promoted from Controllers of Immigration Service and 57 Comptroller of Immigration Service, who were promoted from Deputy Comptroller of Immigration (DCI), said there are enough booklets to clear the passport backlogs.
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He said the NIS action is as a result of the directive of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, that the issuance of passports must be resolved within six weeks, as disciplinary measures will be taken against the service personnel who refuses to send text messages to applicants, intimating them about the readiness of their passports or incomplete documentation, among others, as the case may be.
“There are enough booklets to clear the passport booklets. From midnight of today, 18th May, to 31st of this month, the service will no longer tolerate new application of passports.
“All passport offices in the country will be sealed from midnight of today, 18th May. No member of the public will be allowed to be there. Deputy Controller Generals have been directed to take charge of the passport offices to ensure there’s no use of the backdoor in issuance.
“All portals have been closed to ensure that there’s no passport and we encourage that no cash should be given to any officer but that all payment be done online. We have arranged that no officer who has no business to do at the passport offices nationwide should be welcomed.
“Text messages have been sent to passport owners to come and get their passports because we have tirelessly worked round the clock to ensure that issuance of passports are resolved within six weeks.
“If you submit incomplete documentation, you will receive a text and disciplinary measures will be given to any officer who refuses to send messages to applicants at the expiration of six weeks,” he said.
Pleading with the general public to cooperate with the NIS, the CG admonished that on no account must cash be given to any officer in the name of passport issuance, as all transactions must be done online and in compliance with the novel National Identity Number (NIN) registration.