Over period of time, there has been a build-up in the rush for travel documents by passport seekers but have faced difficulties in getting their passports. Individuals and groups have come out to condemn the scarcity and racketeering of passports by some National Immigration Service officials and their collaborators in various NIS offices and command nationwide.
Findings indicate that difficulty in obtaining travel document is due to negotiation between Federal Government and contractor, Iris Smart Technology Limited. The Ministry of Interior and ISTL were negotiating new contract terms that e-passports which were produced in Malaysia should be produced locally.
As a result of thiis officers took advantage of the scarcity to engage in passports racketeering and extorting money from Nigerians
However the government on Thursday 23rd April announced various measures to address this hassle. According to the government 10 special passport centres will be opened to fast-track booklet processing as the goal was to have one in each local government, university campuses, institutions of high learning and other locations.
In addition, undercover operatives wearing camcorders will be deployed in all passport offices to detect and report any form of corrupt practice or racketeering as said by the Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola.
Rauf Aregbesola attested to the situation stating that passport issuance was challenged by shortage of booklet,touting, racketeering, cost inflation and issuance of passports to ineligible person. It was also disclosed that 976,483 passport were issued to Nigerians home and abroad from January 2020 till date while efforts are ongoing to clear the backlog of 244,336 passports.