The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has disclosed that officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service will start wearing body cameras to rid of touts in the system.
The minister in a series of tweets said the move was to permanently curb the complaints of difficulty in obtaining Passports from the NIS.
“I have declared a zero-tolerance stance to all forms of touting. No applicant will be made to pay any illegitimate fees.
“We are going to embed security operatives – seen and unseen – in all our passport offices. They will wear body cameras.
“It has become imperative that we review our operations and rejig our system, in order to be able to offer excellent services to our clients. We need to review a system from time to time to see if it helps best to serve and realise the objectives”.
He explained that the cameras will detect and report any form of solicitations, inflation, improper communications, extortion, diversion, hoarding, and other corrupt practices. Those caught will be dealt with according to the law.
An ombudsman will also be created for members of the public to receive complaints and reports on officers trying to deviate from prescribed guidelines and subversion of the process.
The minister said that special centres have been created for expedited services. “These special centres will run on a public-private partnership basis. This has already taken off in Abuja and 10 more will be opened in the coming weeks as more of such centres will be opened all over the country”.
On the issue of passport collection, he stated that a timeline for the collection of passport will be fixed for every application. This will be six weeks which is meant to allow for enough time to investigate, verify and validate personal information supplied by the applicants.
“What we are driving at is the peace of mind that comes from assurance of certainty. If there are circumstances that will make the date to change, it will be communicated to the applicant one week before the collection date”.
He noted that applicants will have no basis for further communication with officers, other than to complete their application process and leave the venue. The date for the collection of their passports or any challenge to the application will be communicated to them.
“The technology for the efficient running of this system has been acquired and will be deployed.
“We are publishing on our website the list of the backlog of passports that are ready which are yet to be collected by the owners. They will be required to go to the state commands to collect them.
“With these changes, it is my firm belief that we will arrive at a new dawn in passport application processing”, the minister added.
The minister further stated that the entire application process will be come a seamless, transparent and will accord human dignity to applicants and fulfill citizenship integrity.