NIS carpets former diplomat Keshi over comment on delay of international passport issuance

The Nigeria Immigration Service has carpeted the former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Joe Keshi, over his comment that his wife spent nine months on the renewal of the international passport.

Keshi had lamented that it took the NIS nine months to issue his wife’s international passport renewal in Abuja.

Keshi disclosed this on Tuesday in an Arise Television Interview, saying there is a need for behavioural reformation in Nigeria’s agencies, especially the security agents.

He said, “Nigeria security agencies need to learn from the way developed countries handle things.

“It took my wife nine months to get an international passport renewal here in Abuja; I had to call three former Comptrollers of Immigration before it was done”, he lamented.

But, in an interview on Tuesday with DAILY POST, the spokesperson for Nigeria Immigration Service, Deputy Comptroller Tony Akuneme, reacting to Keshi’s allegation, said the delay experienced by Keshi’s wife was due to irregularities in the passport renewal application.

He explained that International passport issuance takes regular six-weeks except in case of irregularities, for instance, names, National Identity Number, NIN, and other discrepancies during application.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the use of third-party and touts for passport applications.

He said applicants could efficiently process all passport-related issues directly online.

“I can assure you that Joe Keshi’s wife has irregularities; I challenge him to a debate on the same television to make him accept the irregularities on her application. Either her NIN or her passport doesn’t synchronize, and we insist both must synchronize before the passport is produced. I challenge Keshi to produce his wife’s form filled, and you can be sure that a third party or touts filled the form.

“At times touts or third parties help make applications. And they do not know that those people use fictitious phone numbers and details to fill out the application, so it takes the Service forever to reach such people when there are issues like NIN irregularities. That is the only situation where an application can take one or two months. Yes, there are issues, and we are trying our best to improve, but it is unbecoming of a high-place diplomat to cast aspersions on a federal government agency just because he has retired; I am sure if he were still an active Ambassador; he won’t make such a statement on television”, he said.

“Most Nigerians who are correcting one error or the other, like their date of birth, names, it takes longer than the regular six weeks for passport issuance. Most times, Nigerians don’t tell you they are changing something; they don’t believe we will find out that applicants are trying to change something from their previous records; we now get into a fix because of lack of full disclosure, and they begin to call Immigration”, he added.

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