NIS receives 50,000 passport booklets as CG sends task force to Lagos

The Nigeria Immigration Service has received a consignment of 50 , 000 passport booklets to address the backlog of passports estimated to be about 33 , 000 nationwide .
Our correspondent learnt on Thursday in Abuja that the passports were airfreighted from Malaysia into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja , last week.
Findings also indicated that the Comptroller- General of Immigration , Mohammed Babandede , has deployed a task force to Lagos to clear the backlog of passports in the state .
This followed reports that thousands of Nigerians who applied for the regular passports in the state were unable to access them after paying for the document.
But a senior NIS officer who spoke on condition of anonymity informed The PUNCH that the special team would be deployed in Festac , Alausa, and Ikoyi to fast - track the process of passport production and clear the backlogs .
The team , it was gathered , arrived the state on Wednesday from Abuja with adequate number of passport booklets to satisfy demands and put touts operating in the passport offices out of business .
The task force was also expected to resolve complaints from members of the public and recommend for sanction immigration personnel found wanting in the discharge of their duties .
The team has two weeks to discharge its responsibility of ensuring efficient processing of applications and prompt issuance to applicants .
It was gathered that the CG was concerned by reports that touts were working with some NIS personnel to create artificial scarcity in Lagos state .
This , it was learnt informed the removal of the officer in - charge of the Festac passport office about two weeks ago .
Our correspondent also learnt that the CG has also dispatched two officers to New York , United States to address the passport shortfall in the city and environs, said to be 976 .
“ The officers would also visit Atlanta passport office to clear the backlog of passport applications , which is about 1 , 319 .
“ The immigration service has enough passport booklets in stock to meet public demand , ” a source assured .
The NIS Public Relations Officer , Sunday James , confirmed that the task force was already on the ground in Lagos , adding that the men had taken over at the various passport offices .
“ Most of the issues had been sorted out , and the backlog in Ikoyi and Alausa passport offices has been cleared . It remains that of Festac Town, which would be resolved by the weekend , ” he explained .
James disclosed that from January to date , the Alausa NIS office had processed 48, 460 passports , adding that Ikoyi received 101 , 460 applications but processed 92 , 560.
He stated that the figure for the Festac office was not available at the moment.