The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said applicants that might bribe Immigration staff for issuance of passport will be prosecuted.
He warned that henceforth any passport applicant that paid money to any officer would be charged for bribery and inducement.
Aregbesola disclosed this on Thursday, during the unveiling of the enhanced e-Passport facility and commissioning of the passport production centre at the Enugu Passport Office.
He advised prospective applicants to always apply and make payments for the various categories of Passport they desire online and process their application via Passport portal at passport.immigration.gov.ng.
The minister, who regretted some of the challenges and irregularities Nigerians have had to pass through to procure their passports, explained that the online application system “is designed to eliminate personal contact, other than for biometric purpose.”
He said, “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.
“The first problem that arises is unfulfilled expectations. Touts and officials are not in any position to guarantee anything.
“Our system makes room for six weeks for fresh application and three weeks for renewal. This is to enable the NIS to investigate and verify claims by the applicants. It is advisable for travellers in need of passport to begin the application process early, factoring our timeline. The six weeks maximum is reasonable and among the shortest application time in the world.
“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, you can be arrested and charged for bribery and inducement.”
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