Int’l Passengers’ll No Longer Have Contact With Nigerian Immigration – FG assures
As from February next year, international passengers arriving into the country will no longer have contacts with officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
This development was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Friday in Lagos State.
Tunji-Ojo said this will come with the inauguration of e-gates at the country’s international airports, with the installation of the first to be at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He disclosed this on Friday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State during the opening of the newly renovated e-arrival wing of the airport undertaken by Shell Petroleum Development Company.
The minister said with the e-gate, contact with an immigration officer would have been completely eradicated at the airports.
According to him, this would be achieved with advanced passengers’ information and pre-profiling by immigration officers as it is done abroad.
In addition, he stated that the automation of the passport process, which would commence before the end of this month would enable passport applicants to upload their documents online which would be verified while the applicants would be sent an email to come and receive the passport.
However, he stated that the e-gate is the crux of the reform aimed at facilitating passengers’ processing at the airport.
Tunji-Ojo said: “By February once you are in Nigeria and you are coming into the country, you have no business with an immigration officer unless you are a person of interest, you are of security concern.
“What we are doing is to make sure that we have Advanced Passengers’ Information and once we have that, we have your record before you come, immigration can do what we call pre-profiling as it is done abroad and once you come into Nigeria as a Nigerian, just tab your passport, look into the cameras, once you are good, you go.
“You don’t need an Immigration Officer to affect your life.”
Tunji-Ojo commended the NIS Controller General, Carol Wura-Ola Adepoju, and the retiring Deputy Controller-General in charge of Passports, DCG Saadat Hassan, for ensuring the clearance of the backlogs in record times.
He said: “When I was appointed, I called both of them, the acting CG then and DCG Passports and I said it is unacceptable for Nigerians to see a passport as a privilege, it is a right and never again in the history of this country will any Nigerian right be seen as a privilege.
“I asked them how long will it take them.
“They said: ‘Oga give us one month.’
“I said no.
“If you can’t do it in two weeks, just submit your resignation letters, you are out.
“And sincerely, 204,332 backlogs were cleared immediately.
“And it would interest you, they did this without us as a government putting in a dime extra.
“We didn’t buy anything, we didn’t put in a Kobo and they cleared it.
“And within the two weeks we had another backlog of over 50,000 and at the end of the day within five days, we cleared the 50,000 and I told them never again must there be backlogs in Nigeria.
“And I can tell you as of today, by the grace of God, we don’t have backlogs.”