42 ex-ministers, ex-lawmakers hold on to official travel documents
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday asked 21 former governors, 42 ex-ministers, and more than 260 former members of the House of Representatives to return their diplomatic and official passports.
The NIS said it might be forced to impound the diplomatic and official passports of past public officers defying the directive.
The Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Mr. M. K. Ibeshi, gave the directive in a statement he personally signed.
It was gathered that the Federal Government was worried that some former ministers, who have cases to answer, had been junketing abroad with diplomatic immunity.
Although the statement was silent on the actual number of those affected, it was learnt that the list includes 21 former governors, 21 ex-deputy governors, 42 ex-ministers, 233 former members of the House of Representatives, 76 senators and more than 774 former local government chairmen, among others.
The statement reads: “Further to the directive on the withdrawal of diplomatic and official passports held by unauthorised persons, the Nigeria Immigration Service hereby directs all affected persons to comply forthwith. These persons include, among others, former: (i) State Governors( ii) Senators( iii) Members of House of Representatives
(iv) Members of State Houses of Assemblies; (v) Ministers
(vi) Commissioners, (vii) Special Advisers/Special Assistants; (viii) Chairmen/Deputy Chairmen of Local Governments Areas; (ix) all retired Heads of parastatals and (x) Retired public servants
“These categories of persons are hereby informed that these passports which were previously held by them have been revoked and should return them to the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters Sauka Abuja, with immediate effect.
“Failure to comply with this directive will amount to an offence under the Immigration Act 2015. Such unauthorised possession will be impounded at our control posts on arrival or departure.
This is the second time in a month that the Federal Government will issue the directive.
The government in August directed the former elective and political office holders to return their diplomatic and official passports.
“The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Abubakar Magaji, Federal Ministry of Interior, has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service to retrieve all valid diplomatic and official passports with immediate effect from all persons who are not entitled to hold such documents,” the statement said.
“The attention of the Federal Government has been drawn to the fact that some Nigerians who are not entitled to hold diplomatic and official passports are in possession of these documents,” it said.
According to the statement, the measure is intended to protect and promote Nigeria’s integrity in the comity of nations in addition to ensuring law and order.