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Arrest Former Public Office Holders Keeping Diplomatic Passports

Mohammed Babandede
Posted: Jun 2, 2016 at 6:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

– Immigration Boss Orders

Tony Ezimakor

Abuja – The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has directed the arrest of all former governors, ministers and others public servants still in possession of diplomatic passports after leaving offices.

The newly appointed Comptroller General of the service Muhammad Babandede, issued the directive on Tuesday at his maiden briefing of Controllers and senior officers at the NIS National Headquarters, Abuja.

The service also placed a ban on the writing of petitions by officers, and announced the creation of avenue by which aggrieved personnel would monthly ventilate grievances without fear of being punished.

CGI Babandede said the service had so far retrieved about 158 diplomatic passports and 310 of passports.

“In view of the earlier publication for return of official/diplomatic passports by former political office holders and retired public servants, it must be noted that charges will be pressed against unauthorised holders of such documents. This is because, such persons are no longer in the eligibility list and therefore in contradiction of Section 10 of the extant Immigration Act, 2015.

“I am hereby directing that unauthorised holders of such passports be arrested at the Airports and other points of entry/departure. Efforts will be made also to trace such unauthorised holders in their given addresses.”

He decried the continued extortion of the public by “heartless officers who he said set up illegal check points to perpetuate their illegal activities and vowed to henceforth hold the zonal Comptrollers and State Commands responsible for such act.

His words: “I am setting up an anti-corruption squad, but before this I will hold the zonal coordinators and comptrollers responsible.

“I don’t need your blood money, as organised crime law enforcement call ‘returns’.”

?”I am aware of money being extorted from the hands of passport applicants and at various borders/check points in the country. What is happening in the liberated territories in the North East is most disturbing to me. Heartless Immigration officers set illegal check points at hinterland, to bully and extort money from citizens already devastated by Boko Haram insurgency. I will not accept this Service to be the second grade of Boko Haram.

“I am setting an anti-corruption squad, but before this I will hold the Zonal Coordinators and Comptrollers responsible. I do not want your blood money, as organized crime law enforcement called ‘returns’…We will also do our best to send the limited resources available for operations to avoid operatives funding job with corrupt monies.

“Suddenly, under our very eyes, the NIS ship started drifting in the wrong direction. Indiscipline and corruption became the order of the day. The leadership became helpless with pressures on postings and deployments. Absenteeism became the norm in supposedly “non-lucrative” posts”, he recalled.

The CGI also announced other sweeping changes among them the decentralization of passport issuance and administration, including approval for change of name due to marriage now to be authorized by the state comptrollers.

“Approval for replacement of lost passports shall henceforth be given by state Comptrollers after online vetting and processing of application at the Passport Division in the Service’s headquarters; effort will be made to stop passport officers from coming to Abuja for collection of booklets. This will hopefully reduce corruption; additional passport office will be opened in state commands where the existing passport office is getting overwhelmed with high demand; we will involve state comptrollers in the issuance of official passports to applicants in the state,” he stated.