Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has blamed discrepancies in National Identification Number (NIN) and the name filled in passport forms for delays in procuring passports beyond the recommended six weeks.
The Comptroller of Immigration Service, Enugu Command, Azuka Halliday, disclosed this during the event marking NIS 60th anniversary celebrations in Enugu on Sunday.
She said that when the name in applicants’ NIN document did not match the name in their passport forms, it delayed the time of delivery of their passports beyond the recommended six weeks.
The Comptroller advised Nigerians to use the NIS online platform for passports applications to avoid complications including delays that might arise from using a third party platform.
She said that if the applicants faced issues other than the NIN/passport form name discrepancy, her office would be more open to attend to them quickly.
Highlighting some achievements of the NIS, Haliday said that at 60, NIS had delivered its core mandate which included, Issuance of passports and other traveling documents, Border Surveillance and Patrol, Enforcement of laws and Regulations and others to Nigerians.
On the National Migration Policy, Halliday said Nigeria adopted it in 2015 to ensure that the country got optimum development from international migration.
She said Nigeria contributed a substantial percentage to global migration as a major country of origin, transit and destination in terms of global migration.
“For effective implementation of the global migration policy, NIS is now saddled with the role of border management, ensuring national border security, seamless regular migration and economic development of the country.
“NIS has developed a streamline building programmes for its workforce nationally that would ensure proactive, effective and efficient service delivery as well as introduction of modern technology to enhance its operations.
“All these innovation is to keep our borders safe,” she explained.
A retired NIS staff , Okey Ezugwu, in the anniversary lecture he delivered, described Nigeria’s Immigration Law as the most liberal in the world because of its friendly nature.
“If one runs foul of our laws, we do not really go for a kill as the person being punished may not understand why he is being punished.
“I am not saying that our immigration laws should be reviewed but I am saying from our own background, that we are hospitable and we don’t ill-treat foreigners”, he said.
He called for a review of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) policy that allowed citizens of member countries freedom to enter any ECOWAS country without Visas.
Ezugwu, who retired as an Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, said the freedom was being abused as many Nigerians did not see themselves as strangers in Nigeria.
“Another area that need to be looked into is the Free Trade Zone policy where people in it were not subject to immigration regulations,” he said.
Ezugwu, said that Immigration, at 60, had done so much in its core mandates as well as in the promotion of tourism and investment in the country.