The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has identified human factor as being responsible for artificial scarcity of passport booklets in passport offices across the country and therefore, urged NIS to beam its search light on erring officers bent on exploiting passport and visa applications processing to feather their nest.
The Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Afonja Ajibola, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
According to him, the minister therefore, decried passport procedure racketeering perpetrated with the connivance of unscrupulous officials, urging them to desist from the embarrassing act or be prepared to face dire consequences.
He further pledged his commitment to sanitise the specialized services of professional service providers by improving the processing of visas, passports, marriages and citizenship applications.
Aregbesola made the promise during a Quarterly Review Meeting with some consultant-special service providers engaged by the ministry at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Headquarters.
The minister reiterated the importance of performance review, adding that the meeting had helped in addressing challenges experienced by service providers and serving as platform to identify problems that often contributed to inefficient service delivery.
Aregbesola, however, commended the service providers for being worthy partners in attaining effective public service delivery to members of the public who accessed their services on application and processing for visas, passports, marriages and citizenship acquisition.
The minister urged them to strictly adhere to agreements governing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) pact with the ministry.
He also seized the opportunity to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for giving approval for the implementation of standard security features on Nigerian passport.
This, he said, had so far made Nigeria one of the top five nations in the world with such passport quality due to the upgrade on the initial e-passports.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, commended the minister for the initiative that provided for the type of platform for robust engagement with the engaged service providers.
Belgore said that previous quarterly meetings had yielded expected results through improvement on array of services being provided by the service providers.
He urged them to use the opportunity of the meetings to further open up on new solutions to impediments militating against effective service in their areas of engagement.