The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has accused the passport officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service of creating artificial scarcity of the booklets, appealing to them to desist from extorting applicants and as well stop tarnishing the image of the agency.
According to the spokesperson for the ministry, Afonja Ajibola, the minister spoke during a quarterly review meeting with some consultant-special service providers at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) headquarters.
The minister said the meeting helped to address challenges experienced by service providers and served as a platform to identify problems that often contributed to inefficient service delivery.
He, therefore, decried passport procedure racketeering perpetrated with the connivance of unscrupulous officials, urging them to desist from the embarrassing act or be prepared to face dire consequences.
The minister identified the human factor as responsible for the artificial scarcity of passport booklets across the country.
Aregbesola, however, urged NIS to beam its searchlight on erring officers bent on exploiting passport and visa applications processing to feather their nest.
He commended the service providers for being worthy partners in attaining effective public service delivery to public members who accessed their services on application and processing for visas, passports, marriages and citizenship acquisition.
The minister urged them to strictly adhere to agreements governing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) pact with the ministry.
He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the implementation of standard security features on passports.
Meanwhile, during the meeting, all engaged service providers made presentations on their services with professionalism, technology deployment, staff attitude, response time and other indicators as key.
The consulting service providers are Euphoria Press Ltd., Messrs IRRIS SMART TECHNOLOGY Ltd., Thebes Global Resources Ltd., Greater Washington Express, and Dataware Solutions.