Abuja – The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede has ordered the arrest of all former public officials, including lawmakers illegally in possession of diplomatic passports and other official documents.
The newly appointed Comptroller-General gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja at his maiden meeting with top management staff of the service.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government had in 2015 ordered all ex-officials to submit those documents to the NIS.
According to him, in view of the earlier publication for return of official diplomatic passports by former political office holders, charges will be made against unauthorised holders of such documents.
“This is because such persons are no longer in the Eligibility List and are therefore in contravention of Section 10 of the extant Immigration Act, 2015.
“I am hereby directing that unauthorised holders of such passports be arrested at the airports and other points of entry and departure.
“Efforts will be made also to trace such unauthorised holders in their given addresses.’’
According to Babandede, 158 diplomatic passports and 310 official passports have so far been retrieved.
He also read the Riot Act to corrupt officials of the Service, adding that it was no longer business as usual.
“I am aware of money being extorted from the hands of passport applicants and at various borders and check points in the country.
“What is happening in the liberated territories in the northeast is most disturbing to me.
“Heartless Immigration officers set illegal check points at hinterland to bully and extort money from people already devastated by Boko Haram insurgency.’’
Babandede gave a directive for the decentralisation of passport issuance and administration.
He said approval for change of name due to marriage could now be given by state controllers. (NAN)