Ikoyi Passport Office of the Nigeria Immigration service (NIS) has recorded production of at least 72,000 passports in the last six months, while an average collection rate within the period stood at 68,000.
It was also gathered that the office had to work night shifts to meet up with the large volume of passport booklet demands by applicants.
The production of 72,000 was significant, following the earlier half of the year when there were complaints of lack of passport booklets to cater to teeming applicants who trooped to the office.
It was also learnt that some of the major changes that eased issuance of passports at the Ikoyi passport office, with regards processes and procedures, came as a result of the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mahammad Babandede’s drive to make the acquisition of the passport less tedious and remove any form of cash transaction that may lead to giving gratification to officers.
A source close to the service told our correspondent in Lagos that the new management team at the Ikoyi office had come in May and met a lot of files, some since March, which were unattended to.
The source added: “Then, Ikoyi passport office had three months hanging and as we had this three months hanging, we continued to develop more files because the processes of passport issuance had not stopped.
“As we were having March, we were developing another data bank of June and July and if we started clearing March, we were keeping June, July and so that was a challenge we needed to address.
“We went straight to service headquarters, told them our findings, which we met on ground and requested they supplied us with booklets that would be able to cater to this backlog. Fortunately, our CG instructed and the booklets were provided and that addressed an aspect of the problem.”
On how the team was able to produce passports for the backlog of applicants as well as those currently seeking application to renew or acquire the passport, our source explained the process of having to produce it at night to avoid distractions.
According to the source, the production department of the service had to work through the night to meet demands, which he said further increased production and delivery.
The source hinted that at least 2,000 booklets were produced every night to meet demand and clear backlogs.
He added that despite the mass production and huge demands that followed, the control mechanisms put in place prevented chaos at the service.
“So we needed to strategise. We linked up with the service headquarters to increase the point for the collection,” he explained.
“Before then, we only had a collection point; we developed an open one here, a VIP, near the Passport Controllers office so we can bring applicants there.
“Subsequently, another was opened at the back, so we took the elders and children to the back, and the VIP and the youth to the general collection area. So the decentralisation reduced the crowd to a manageable number.”
SOURCE :sahara reporters (news)