By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS- A new wave of sanity and professionalism has begun to blow at the Nigeria’s busiest Passport office, Ikoyi Lagos with the deployment of a woman Deputy Comptroller of Immigration, DCI Abolupe O. Bewaji as the new Passport Control Officer PCO. Already, in less than two weeks two of assumption of office, officers and men of the passport office were spotted Wednesday, for the first time in recent times, wearing their uniforms with their nametag conspicuously fixed to their chests for easy identification while professionally attending to applicants and visitors alike.
It was learnt that the recent deployment of Bewaji to the Ikoyi Passport office followed an ugly incident in which the acting Comptroller-General of Immigration, Idris Isah Jere paid an incognito and unscheduled visit to the Ikoyi Passport office and two other Passport Offices to authenticate widespread remours of barefaced professional misconducts, irreconcilable corruption and corrupt practices especially, in the prices of the e-passport acquisition.
But assuring Nigerians especially, passport seeking applicants during an interactive session with newsmen that such unprofessional posturing and conducts would be history in Ikoyi Passport office under her watch, a soft-spoken and highly cerebral Abolupe Bewaji, exuding the sterling qualities of a technocrat that she is, said she was on a mission to restore the old glory of the Ikoyi Passport office.
She was however, quick to add that the delays usually experienced in acquiring passport were far from being the fault of the Passport personnel, blaming the epileptic power supply, issues associated with NIN evaluation and fluctuating network from the various providers. The issue of power supply according to her has however, been allayed by the provision of a 100KVA generating set by management of Access Bank.
“Under my tenure, service delivery will be taken to greater level. Applicants will be attended to on a first come first serve basis while the Ministerial order on passport issuance administration reforms will be strictly adhered to. Passport renewal will take 3 weeks while fresh applications will take 6 weeks,” she assured.
Continuing, PCO Bewaji added, “We shall ensure that we do the right thing at the right time for the right purpose as we are on a mission to restore the past glory of Ikoyi passport office. However, a problem of power supply has been delaying passport processing at Ikoyi passport office before my assumption of office but all thanks to God and Access bank plc, we have been able to overcome this challenge in my first six days in office as an 100KVA generating set was donated to us.”
Imploring the cooperation of members of the fourth estate of the realm, PCO Bewaji said the role of the press in the success of any organization could not be overemphasized stressing, “We need your cooperation for us to succeed. As children of God, we do not have to lie, but I implore you to always run your stories through us to affirm the truth of any situation before publication.
We also need you to help us educate the public on certain areas: First, is the price of passport; this will help us reduce the influence of touts in the passport office. Second, is the issue of NIN; applicants who wish to get their passport should make sure the details on the passport are the same with what they have on their NIN before applying.
As our partner, I urge you to join in this journey of making Ikoyi passport office great again and I need your total support to make my administration successful.”
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