By Tola Gbadamosi
The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Ondo State Command Passport Office, today, paraded three suspected passport racketeers at the command’s headquarters in Akure.
The suspects are; Etaoghere Cyril, Okunika Joy and Adehaka Blessing.
Parading the suspects, the Command Public Relation Officer, Deputy Superintendent, Taiwo Alebiosu said the suspects charges N80,500 for a 32 pages 5 years validity passport, N100,500 for 64 pages 5years validity passport, and N165,000 for 64 pages, 10 years validity passport which is against the widely publicised cost of passport on NIS official website.
He said their arrest followed series of complaints that some elements in the society still capitalize on the previous lapses in passport administration to dupe unsuspecting members of the public of their hard-earned money.
“On hearing of such syndicate in Akure, the PCO sent an officer to disguise as a civilian looking to obtain a passport to the suspects office where he was presented with some Immigration documents to obtain his data for passport application which eventually led to their arrest.
“At this junction, we must make it known to members of the public that a Nigerian passport being issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service is neither a
commodity that can be bargained over nor a service that NIS employs an agent to carry out on her behalf.
“Again, I will like to state that the era of waiting for months to obtain
Nigerian passports is over. It is dead, buried and cannot be resurrected.
“We want to use this medium to encourage citizens of the state and environs who wishes to apply for the Nigerian passport to approach Nigeria Immigration Service, Akure Passport Office along Igbatoro Road, Alagbaka, Akure.
He enjoined residents to beware of touts parading themselves as agents, noting that “Your passports will be out within two weeks as directed by the Minister of Interior, and we intend to comply fully.
“We should recall that on assumption of duty by the Acting Comptroller
General of Immigration; Ag CGI Caroline Wuraola Adepoju fsi, she declared a
state of emergency on passport administration and since then all hands have been on deck so solve the lingering issues of passport acquisition.
Following such directives, the passport control officer in charge of the
Nigeria Immigration Service, Ondo State Command passport officer; DCI Kayode
Oladapo Bayode and his team cleared existing backlogs in August and
subsequently ensured that bonafide citizens who approach the Akure passport office get their passports within two weeks as directed by the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.
The Command PRO stated that the suspects will be handed over to the Nigeria police for further investigation.
In a confession, the suspect who is a native of Delta state said he mistakenly posted the passport issue on Facebook and the victim fell for it and he collected some money form the victim and was arrested by men of my the immigration office.