Posted by News Express | 14 August 2021 | 657 times
The Minister of Interior, Chief Rauf Aregbesola has expressed sadness that despite various reforms introduced by the present Federal Government, the nation’s passport administration was still fraught with fraud, racketeering and delay.
Aregbesola who spoke in Enugu at the commissioning of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Enugu State Command Office Complex noted that the reforms made to better the system has been under serious attack by strange interests hence it had only achieved little.
The Minister charged the officers and even the citizens who apply for the passport to ensure that the integrity of the document was maintained at all times.
He said, “Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship that is why the integrity of that document is of utmost importance to us. In light of this can we really say we have best served the Nigerian citizens in passport issuing and renewal? We all know this cannot be true. The process is still fraught with racketeering, fraud, delay and mistreatment for the applicants, this should not be so. We must trust ourselves, from the highest of us to the lowest of us, we must ensure that Nigerian people get service and I am strict about it.
“You are all aware of the reforms being put in place in passport administration but as with all reforms that challenge the status quo and strange interests, which involve society corruption, there have been resistance and little progress is being made sadly.
“We must all subscribe to the reform, doing the right thing requires making sacrifice and getting out of our comfort zones. This does not apply to our officers alone; people who equally apply for this document must exercise restraint and exhibit some decorum. If you insist on inducing these officers, is also possible for them to receive,” he said.
Describing the NIS Enugu office complex as the biggest in the country, the minister thanked the State Government for the gesture and urged the officers in the Command to ensure its maintenance and to plant trees.
He said, “I must thank the government of the state for this provision, this is the biggest Command I have seen in terms of space in the country. As we are thanking the government of Enugu, we are urging the officers here to plant trees. Register your name, if you are an officer here plant a tree to register your name before you leave here, that’s my charge, you take it as a charge from the minister, you must plant a tree that must bear your name in this facility.”
Emphasising on service, the Minister noted that the objective of NIS is to serve the people of Nigeria adding that, “At the heart of government credibility is service to people. The Nigeria people are the boss; you must take pride in serving them not in exploiting them, not in bulling them, not in undermining them. The Nigerian people are unmistakably the boss, this consciousness must permeate the way you conduct your business and the way you relate with the people.”
Speaking on the facility, he said, “Contemporary realities are pointing clearly to the fact that conducive workplace environment is a huge critical factor to productivity.”
The Minister, who recalled how the office complex was attacked and damaged by arsonists during the #ENDSARS protest, expressed delight that the complex was being commissioned after been rebuilt with the assistance of some illustrious citizens of Enugu State.
Aregbesola said, “The minimum facility you can provide for a man who bears arms is not only a place of safety but that where his best capacity can be easily harnessed,” stressing that there were various infrastructure development and upgrade in the four agencies under the ministry of interior.
The Minister who urged the personnel of the NIS not to lose sight of the Service responsibility to the Nigerian people said, “Immigration is the first contact that foreigners have with our country and the first impression, they say, lasts the longest. You must, therefore, strive to be professional and above all be patriotic. On no account must Nigeria’s image be damaged or undesirable element that could harm our nation slip in, under your watch, through commission or omission.”
The Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the Deputy Governor, Cecilia Ezeilo, commended the initiative and pledged the state government’s willingness to continue to partner and support NIS and the Federal Government in securing the people of the State.
Earlier, the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhhammed Babandede, had in his address, thanked the government and people of Enugu State for their support and directed the Officers and Men of the Command to continue to be loyal and patriotic to the nation in the discharge of their duties while being vigilant.
He used the occasion to assure that the issue of passport shortage would soon be a thing of the past with the opening of the Command’s new office complex.
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