Buhari kicks passport touts out of business- NIS

By Bukola Adetoye

The Nigeria Immigration Service ( NIS) says the service witnessed tremendous revitalisation in the last eight years of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration as the President.

On May 29, Buhari will officially bow out of service as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in analyzing the tenure of President Buhari, takes a look at the immigration sector.

Speaking with the Spokesperson of NIS, Tony Akuneme, he said that Buhari’s tenure would be remembered for the improvement in the passport collection process, border security and staff welfare, which witnessed the long desired reforms.

“Until his administration, to obtain Nigerian Passport was very cumbersome, as it involved manual application and processing.

“It was very difficult for one to process passport by himself or herself, most people sought services of agents or touts.

“However, in Buhari’s administration, one can use personal phone to apply and make payment.’’

He explained that the passport reform was able to eliminate passport touts, who defrauded a lot of applicants.

“The reform enlightened Nigerians on immigration issues and processes.

“Acquiring a passport became seamless, with improved security features.’’

Akuneme told NAN that the right technologies were deployed to ensure safe borders, improved border patrol as well as safety of personnel in the last eight years of the Buhari-led administration.

“Border management equipment were deployed to 32 air borders and 26 other locations, these technologies are the best and most sophisticated in the world.

“The NIS under the same administration has considered the option of deploying unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) also known as drones, for effective border management, if given approval to.

“Buhari awarded contract for the installation of electronic border surveillance system, to monitor the nation’s land borders, to checkmate illegal migration.

“The Electronic Digital Technology ( EDT) would be deployed across the nation’s border to ensure 24 hours round-the-clock, surveillance of  all border lines in the country.

The spokesperson told NAN that before the Buhari-led administration there were 40 passport offices in the country, and now there are 50 offices.

“10 more passport offices have were commissioned to ease passport processes in the country in the last eight years.’’

“One in Alimosho, Lagos, making four offices in Lagos now. There is one in Oyo town and another in Ilesha in Osun State.

“There were three in Abuja now they are five, there is one in Auchi, Minna and Daura, among many others.’’

Akuneme told NAN that the promotion examination in the service had been carried out consistently and officers who performed well at their duty posts were also rewarded.

He explained that the reward system had encouraged officers to improve their individual performances.

“Apart from rewards, there are also sanctions for erring officers, to serve as deterrent to others.’’

NAN recalls that on Nov. 4, 2022, a statement signed by Mr Kenneth Kure, Chief Superintendent of Immigration, announced the dismisal of eight members of staff of the NIS.

Also, 18 other personnel were sanctioned for various offences ranging from gross misconduct, employment racketeering and other forms of corrupt practices.

NAN, however, reports that the achievements of President Buhari had continued to attract accolades from Nigerians of all spheres of life.

The Acting Comptroller-General (CG) of the NIS, Mr Isah Idris, told NAN that the passport reforms introduced had eased passport application and issuance for Nigerians.

Therefore, he said, Nigerians should expressly thank the outgoing President for the achievements.

“Buhari had continued to improve NIS by ensuring that no stone was left unturned in the attainment of the set targets.

“Buhari ensured that NIS statutory mandate of both law enforcement and service delivery, deployed best hands across the service to ensure that the public is well served.

Mrs Cecilia Martins, a mother of three, whose two sons are studying in the United Kingdom, applauded the reforms, saying that she was happy when she heard the news of the dismissal of some officers involved in extorting passengers  travelling abroad.

“My sons always had to travel with extra cash because of immigration officers, who will demand for money from them when they are returning to their school abroad,’’

She, however, said that now there is no such extortion at the airport again, adding that her sons now look forward to traveling through the Nigerian airport unlike before.

Mr Randolph Etim, a businessman, who travels often, told NAN that the electronic surveillance and other technologies deployed would strengthen existing immigration checks, enhance effective migration management as well as boost the security of the country. (NAN)