The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has threatened to evict National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, attached to its Ikoyi Passport Office, Lagos, for allegedly trading with the ongoing National Identity Number, NIN, registration.
Their action is said to have earned the NIS a bad image.
NIMC is responsible for the NIN, a unique identification number for every registered Nigerian. It is expected that every Nigerian is enrolled and issued the NIN for the purpose of all-round identification. The number is to be linked with individual activities, including vehicle license, telecommunications and banking transactions.
A source at the NIMC office in Ikoyi told newsmen that there is fear that the Agency might be kicked out of the Passport Office, going by threat by Immigration boss, Mrs. Doris Braimah, who has accused them of racketeering.
The source said the Immigration boss was angry that: “Some of our staff are trading with the registration and at the same time registering those who are not supposed to come to the premises. The Immigration boss warned us that we are not staff of NIS. She is angry that Nigerians are mistaking the office as the same with them. We are aware that NIS accommodated us to serve those travellers looking for NIN. Emergency travellers need us near the Passport Office, that is why we are appealing to the Controller of NIS to prevail on his subordinates to be patient with us as we will comply with all their directives. We have cautioned our staff to stop any thing inimical to our mandate. It is not as if we are trading with the registration, as we are being accused, but some of our staff used the chance to assist their relatives and friends. But this has stopped. We are happy that we are being accommodated by NIS because we are not their staff”.
Mrs. Braimah, who summoned an emergency meeting between her office and NIMC, warned that NIS would not hesitate to evict NIMC. She was quoted as saying: “A security agent, not from my office, and a reporter have told me how you are having a field day using NIN acquisition to trade. You are here to register passport applicants and not people that are not applying for passports. You are here to collaborate with NIS to reduce the burdens of applicants. You must desist from trading with registration. If I get any report on that, I will not hesitate to shut you out of the premises.
“Anybody who is not an applicant has no business in this premises. You are not part of Immigration, but we are accommodating you; unfortunately, you are abusing the opportunity.
“If you have to be in this compound, you must adhare to the rules and regulations of NIS. The problem is that people don’t understand the difference between your organisation and NIS. So they mistake you for us. I repeat, I will not hesitate to shut you out if you don’t change. Let’s work together in peace. All applicants must be identified by an Immigration office for us to reduce crowd in the premises”.
The Nigerian Communicatiowns Commission, NCC, had earlier issued a two-week ultimatum to telecommunication operators to block all SIM cards that are not registered with the NIN, although there is an intervention by the Senate to extend the deadline. This has created desperation and anxiety in many Nigerians, leading to large, crowds and sharp practises at most NIMC registration centres nationwide.
It was gathered that the Passport Control Officer of Ikoyi Paspport office, Abdulkadir Garo, a Deputy Comptroller of Immigration has stepped up measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the passport office was working with the directive of the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mohammed Babandede on strict adherence to the guidelines and protocols of COVID-19.
He noted that measures are in place and handsanitizing machines scattered within the passport office will help in curbing the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.