INSIDEMAINLAND – The Acting Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Isa Jere Idris, on Monday, disguised as an applicant for an international passport at the Lagos State Command, Ikoyi, where he alleged that some officers of the service offered to engage in shady deals with him.
Mr. Idris, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview via phone, said he decided to walk in unannounced in order to gain firsthand experience of what Nigerians are going through “in the hands of unscrupulous officers of NIS.”
The Immigration CG said when he assumed office in September, he had pledged to tackle three things including addressing the challenges faced by Nigerians in their efforts to procure international passports, enhance border security and improve workers’ welfare.
He said his unscheduled visit to Ikoyi on Monday was to confirm the allegations against officers of the immigration offices in Lagos State including Ikoyi, Ikeja, and FESTAC town.
He said when he approached the officers at the Ikoyi command, he was given various high prices for the different categories of passports.
“When I approached the officers, they offered me the menu without recognizing me. They said 32 pages of the international passport for five years would cost me N45,000 instead of N27,000. They said 64 pages for five years would cost me N55,000 instead of N37,000, and N95,000 for 64 pages for 10 years instead of N72,000.
“I was asked where I was from and I said Niger State. They also asked me if I had a letter of indigeneship and other documents and I said I didn’t have anyone. So they said they would collect N3,500 to provide all the documents for me,” he stated.
The immigration boss said as of the time of speaking to our reporter on the phone, the officers were yet to know who he was, and that the Comptroller for Lagos Command of the service, Bauchi Aliyu, was surprised when he eventually showed up in his office.
“You know he just returned to Lagos from Abuja. He didn’t know that I was coming to town. So he is still shocked as I am talking to you,” he said.