Less than a month after his appointment as Ag Controller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Isa Jere Idris broke the cartel of passport racketeering in far away Lagos, where business of passports had being a way of life of many Nigerians in connivance with officers and men of Nigerian Immigration Service NIS.
The positive developement in the service was a major achievement the immediate past leadership under Mohammed Babandede and many others had overlooked that became worsened before the assumption of duty of the new helmsman.
Before his assumption of duty, it had attained a worrisome situations desiring government attention and action as assessing passport at the immigration had become an issue of ‘Man no Man’ or connection, a situation that was not normal.
Getting a passport that was at the peck and call of applicants, became a nightmare as for weeks and months, applicants kept vigil at the immigration offices with officers and men cashing in on the sad development.
Ordinarily, Nigerians were made to believe that the only lucrative postings in the service of Nigerian Immigration Service NIS is either at the passport offices, borders, and airports, therefore creating alot of pressures, lobbying and internal wranglings between officers and men of the service.
These skirmishes were not meant to assist applicants into easily assessing passport to their various destinations, but an opportunity to shortchange and extort applicants, with the impression of either getting it quickly processed and issued, or as the case may be.
The ugly trend had pervaded passport offices of the Nigerian Immigration Service NIS across the country, untill the appointment of the Ag Controller General, Isa Jere Idris to the mantle of leadership.
The situation got from bad to worst as passport leaflet became scarce as essential commodities across the country, with the impression of the former leadership that the booklets were not printed in Nigeria, a development unheard of since it’s inception.
The unfortunate development brought untold hardships to applicants who daily troupe the NIS either for renewal, collection, correction and other requests,as the highest bidder now had access to Nigeria passport at that point on time.
It was revealed at that critical point in time ,that some officers and men at the top echelon of Nigerian immigration Service NIS hoard passports and sold them out to hapless and desperate Nigerians at cut throat prices, against the lay down procedures and service requirements.
The situations enriched many officers and men deployed to passport offices across the country, at the expense of applicants who were stranded at the point of getting passports.
It was alleged that a top officer of the service at a point hijacked all the documents and booklets into a private residence belonging to him in Abuja, and converted the structure to a temporary passport office, a situation that was unhealthy to the image of the country.
On assumption of duty, the patriotic decision of the new Age CG , that disguised and bursted the cartel in one of its busiest office in Nigeria, in Lagos was applauded by many Nigerians and it’s determination to change the trend of events if given the opportunity as the substantive Controller General, Nigerian Immigration Service NIS.
Since the bulk of anti service activities is being carried out in lagos, Abuja and Port-harcourt ,the officers concerned should be reprimanded and not forgiven for obvious reasons of perpetrating such corrupt tendencies, so as to rid the service of corrupt elements.
The Lagos scenario had sent warning signals across the country, as it had also restored sanity across the passport offices of Nigerian Immigration Service NIS across the country, under the new leadership of Isa Jere Idris.
It had also brought a permanent solution to incessant passport racketeering across the country by the men and officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service NIS.
To crown it up, few months on assumption of duty, and to avoid continuous pilfering of innocent Nigerians by disgruntled elements within the service, it introduced online application and assessment of applicants of passports in Nigeria, for ease of assessment and doing businesses in the country.
The laudable policies being put in place and it’s implementation under the new Ag CG, Nigerian Immigration Service NIS had brought to a halt the abnormal norm prevalent in the service over the decades, that had affected the image of the service negatively within Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria.
The situation that had led to heavy loss of revenue both to the service and the government, at a crucial time when it is looking at rejigging the revenue generating outlets with a view to meeting up both it’s capital and recurrent expenditures.
The efforts and disposition of the new Ag CG, Nigerian Immigration Service NIS less than six months in office, was an indicator that when confirmed, alot of changes and positive developement will evolve in the service.
Already, Jere in his determination, had undergone a massive redeployment of top officers of the service, to enable them key into the new template of refocusing the activities of the service, geared towards optimum performance.
For the new NIS top man, it is no longer buisness as usual in the Nigerian Immigration Service NIS, as this will encourage more applicants hitherto discouraged by needles bureacratic bottlenecks and high cost of assessing passport back to business within and outside the country.
Abubakar Yusuf Writes From Abuja, Is A Public Affairs Analyst.