In line with the anti-corruption stance of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Minister of Interior, Abudurahman Dambazau, has warned Nigerians interested in obtaining an international passport from the Nigerian Immigration Passport offices to refrain from paying above the official fees.
The minister gave the warning on Friday during the inauguration of one of the 18 new passport offices located at the premises of the Government Office Annex, along Roundabout – NPA road in Warri, Delta State.
Danbazau, who was responding to a question on alleged racketeering of passports by officers of the immigration service, said “I was happy to hear the Comptroller- General, Martin Kure Abeshi, reeling out the official cost of Nigerian passport to the audience. “
According to him, “nobody should pay a kobo above the official fees mentioned. We are open to complaints from the public. Whoever experiences such racketeering should immediately report and we will take all the necessary action to deal with the situation.”
He reiterated that international passport is an “entitlement for those who use it to travel and there are fees attached to it and these fees are very reasonable and nobody should take advantage of any applicant to charge above the official rate provided and we won’t condone such act.”
Earlier in his remarks at the event attended by representative of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Festus Agas, who is the SSG, and ACP Muhammed Muazu, the Area Commander of Nigeria Police, Warri Area Command, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Martin Kure Abeshi, had reeled out to Nigerians what they should pay to obtain their international passports.
Abeshi, in a no-holds-bar mood, declared that a 64-page passport for frequent travelers, which runs concurrently with the 32-page passport, costs N20,000, adding that for children below 18 years, they are to pay N8,750.
Explaining that the official fees are age and gender sensitive, Abeshi said Nigerians between 18 and 59 years old should obtain their 32-page passport for N15,000 while those above 60 years are to pay N8,750 only.
He added that for Nigerians who want to do a change of name as a result of marriage, deceased of spouse or divorce as well as change of data on request, the fees go for N30,000 and N20,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa has lauded the NIS for the cordial relationship existing between the state government and the service which culminated in siting the passport office in the state government’s annex office.
Agas, who spoke on behalf of the governor, said the state government was happy that people in Delta Central and Delta South would now be excused the stress of having to travel all the way to Asaba to obtain their passport.
Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Edirin Okoto, who is in charge of the Warri Passport Office, elatedly described the inauguration as epochal being the first to be inaugurated among the 18 additional passport offices being built by the service across the country.
Other dignitaries at the inauguration were Comptroller General, NIS, Delta State, Musa Madu, representative of Olu of Warri, leader of the Nupes in Warri and other security agencies.