The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed that eight of its men have been sacked in the last one year over illegal collection of fees for the issuance of new passports and renewal of old ones.
Akuneme explained that the disciplinary measures under the passport reform were part of the three-point agenda of the incumbent NIS Comptroller General (CG), Isah Jere.
While listed the CG’s three-point agenda, to be reforming passport issuance, tightening border security and improving the welfare of NIS officers.
He said, “We have tried as much as possible to eliminate third parties so that if you really want, you can process the application of your passport from the comfort of your room on your laptop, android phone, and you can pay online.
“You don’t really need anybody, whether immigration officers or agents, which we usually call touts. They have upgraded and become agents. They are still third parties.
“The problem we have is the use of third parties because no matter how much reform you put in, you will always see a learned and civilised person using a third party to process their application.
“And one thing they don’t understand is that third parties don’t have an idea of the information entered into your application. This can result in somebody having issues with his/her National Identification Number (NIN).
“We have continued to punish NIS officer and men who try to assist people for a fee. You can assist people genuinely but not extort from them.
“We are committed to curbing corruption and other illicit acts in the service. You will appreciate the fact that, if nothing else, the level of awareness has increased in the last few months.
“Don’t patronise agents; fill your forms yourself. We have officers watching, and these agents know they are being watched. When they take money from you, tell us. If we don’t take action, tell the world.”