The Citizens’ Common Advocacy International has called on the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to begin an immediate investigation into the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) policies, practices and treatment of Nigerians, alleging that people pay the service to issue passports but remain frustrated and denied their right to an acceptable standard of service.
The organisation in a statement during the weekend in Abuja said the NIS’s disposition towards passport issuance could not continue the way it is.
The statement issued by Bukola Adimula, Programme Associate, (Communications and Engagement), Citizens’ Common, said the frustrating experiences of Nigerians seeking to procure international passports in the hands of the NIS officials must be stopped.
Adimula said: “On 6 October 2022, when Benita Ezumezu walked into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) headquarters office in Abuja for her biometric capturing, after meeting all the required conditions as stipulated by the law, she had no idea that 16 weeks down the line, she will have no passport in sight.
“After exhausting all avenues to get her passport issued and missing multiple professional development opportunities that require overseas travel, she has no choice but to approach the court to seek enforcement of her fundamental rights which the NIS continue to violate by refusing to issue her passport.
“She has approached the court to seek an order requesting an immediate issuance of her passport having met all conditions as required by the law and financial compensation for the avoidable losses this ordeal has caused her and her career.
“The case has been assigned to court 8 of the Federal High Court, Abuja and fixed on the 7th of March, 2023.
“We know that Benita’s plight is similar to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who continue to suffer immeasurable losses from poor service delivery and corruption within the ranks of the Nigerian Immigration Service officials and their principals.
“The six weeks collection window is continuously communicated by the NIS officials as the expected service timeline has not been adhered to in this instance and many more cases,” she stated.
Adimula further noted that the continuous delay in the issuance of passports to qualify Nigerians without just cause is unacceptable and the Nigerian Immigration Services, as well as the Minister of the Interior, must be held accountable for this anomaly.
“Our interest in Benita’s case is not just because she is a staff in our organisation, but primarily because the service quality of the Nigerian Immigration Service has diminished to an all-time low in the last few years.
“Our hope is that Benita’s case will serve as a test case for Nigerians and create the needed awareness that spotlights necessary reform to the process and procedure of passport issuance,” she said.
Citizens’ Common Advocacy International is a citizen action organisation, committed to empowering everyday citizens to take social action targeted at solving small and big societal challenges using the power of community, collaboration, innovation and technology.
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