The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) may close its Festac office in Lagos because of unscrupulous practices of its officers in the process of obtaining passports.
It was gathered that NIS had been inundated with petitions against the fraudulent activities of its officers at the particular office by well-meaning Nigerians who were embarrassed by the unchecked corrupt practices that go on in that place every day.
Investigations revealed that 100 per cent of Nigerians who came to obtain their passport at the Festac office were forced to give bribe before they could obtain their passports.
“So what you see is an on-going racketeering where various homes around the passport office are converted to an extension of Nigeria Immigration Service and the Immigration officers recruit their relations and touts to solicit for people who wish to obtain or renew their passports.
“The place looks like a market place and it is surprising that the management of NIS has not taken any action to stop this nefarious activities till now,” a source said.
“The reason is that the place the office is presently located is a residential area which is densely populated and the office is not distinctly located but integrates with other houses around it. So it is easy to be doing the illegal things that go on in that place.
“Such place is not good for the location of government officer that offers such sensitive document,” the source added.
The source also noted that the new passport office at Ikeja Lagos is uniquely located “and that is the way passport office should be. When you come there you know that you are in government office that officers the kind of special service that is sensitive and important.”
Exonerating the organisation, an Immigration officer told reporters that it was Nigerians who wished to obtain passport that failed to be patient and follow due process.
“They are the ones that cause all these things you are complaining of because somebody who wants to travel tomorrow will come to the office today and tell you to give him passport today. The problem is not with us; it is with Nigerians who cannot follow the rules.”