The Comptroller General of Immigration (CGI) Muhamad babandede said the service has cleared over 4000 backlogs of passports applications which were left unattended to by passport officers at the Festac office in Lagos.
In recent time, the service had been under criticism over its inability to provide passport booklets for those who wanted to renew or obtain international passports booklet.
As a result many applicants where left stranded in passport offices across the country.
Briefing journalists on Thursday in Abuja at workshop organised for Assistant Comptrollers General (ACG) and Comptrollers on the ease of doing business in Nigeria and sensitisation on Agriculture, Babandede clarified that the service setup a taskforce team to sort out all passport related issues across the country.
“As at last week, the entire backlog of pending passports applications at all passports offices in Lagos state have been cleared and we wish to assure Nigerians not to entertain any fear about the availability of passport booklets across the nation.
” We set up a taskforce ,we refused to listen to the passports officers because whenever we speak with them they will say no passport backlog, no problem everything is going on well. We surprised them and set up a taskforce and what we discovered was interesting. Like in Festac passport office, we found over 4000 passport booklets that were unattended to. We had to clear all backlogs. We are doing it in all the states but we will not tell them which state we are going to next .
“The knowledge we have is that Lagos is cleared and we will make sure that Lagos will continue without backlogs .There are four major production centres Lagos,Kanu,Benin and Ibadan. Once we solve Lagos ,we have solved more than half of the problem and we will continue until the whole nation is cleared ” He said .
The CGI said the federal government is supporting agriculture by throwing open various initiative that will encourage the participation of paramilitary personnel.
” you may wish to recall that the 5th schedule, section 2 of the 1999 constitution allows public servants to engage in agriculture without the risk of being accused of private practice. In view of the need to encourage officers to eschew corruption, we want to offer alternatives that are sustainable until retirement from service and thereafter”
He urged officers to prepare for the next level of the implementation of the the National Action Plan(NAP 2.0) .
“The federal government through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) recently rolled out the second phase of the 60-day National Action Plan (NAP 2.0) to drive reforms aimed at making Nigeria a progressively easier place to do business. NAP 2.0 is expected to run from 3rd October to 1st December 2017 and its aims include need to further reduce the challenges of entry and exit of persons from Nigeria .The presentation by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) includes exposure to the details of NAP 2.0 as it affects the NIS and expected deliverables to serve as motivation for better performance.
He added that PEBEC has rated NIS as number one agency to embrace the federal government s ease of doing business initiative.
The special adviser, special projects and general duties to the minister of agriculture, Winifred Ochinabo said , the ministry is ready to work with NIS to build an economy that is agribusiness, and also an economy that will be able to meet the challenges of food security and create jobs .
Stella Enenche , Abuja