Aregbesola Launches 10,000 e-passport Platform in Edo, Warns against Sharp Practices

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday, warned men of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Edo State Command, to shun tendencies capable of jeopardising federal government’s efforts in ensuring that Nigeria could procure travelling passports with ease.

He said the ministry under his watch would not spare the rod in dealing decisively with any officials of the service engaged in any illegal practices, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari was desirous of improving service delivery in the country.

Aregbesola spoke at the official roll-out of the enhanced e-Passport in Benin, Asaba & Warri, even as the commissioning of the Passport Production Centre announced that 10, 000 e-passports were available on the platform for applicants and n that the ministry was committed to changing the perception of service delivery for the better.

This is as a former Inspector General of Police, Dr. Solomon Arase, in league with seven other indigenes of the state, Monday, donated Security kits and accoutrements to the seven local government areas of Edo South senatorial district to community policing.

However, speaking at the commissioning, Aregbesola said, “For our men, who are quick to tell people that there are no passports just to exploit them, those who give unkind and harsh treatment to passport seekers will be dealt with henceforth.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge is very explicit to make life easy in getting a passport. Buhari expressed concern especially, those abroad in getting passports. So, what we are doing now is ro remove all the hurdles. We have 10, 000 passports on this platform so every Nigerians desirous should be able to get it.”

He added that the enhanced e-passport carried 25 additional security features and was rated to be among the best in the world in terms of durability and quality.

The minister further commended President Buhari for his support in realising the reform in the agency, adding that it was work in progress to completely digitalise the service.

Acting Comptroller-General of NIS, Idris Jere, on his part, said with the unveiling in Edo, other states in South-south had migrated to the enhanced e-passport, adding that it was the latest in passport technology.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who accompanied the minister to the commissioning, said the unveiling would bring relief to passport seekers and ease the application process.

He said the state government would join the ministry in fighting touting in passport applications just as he commended the ministry for the foresight.      

Meanwhile, Arase, who also gave out scholarships to eight medical students and one law student from indigent homes as part of his 66th birthday celebration, disclosed that the security kits were donated in conjunction with Chief (Mrs) Rosemary Osula Mku-Atu, S.B Osagie, Osa Owieadolor, Mr. Kede Aihie, Dr Anthony Ediae, Mr Eric Osagie, and Mr Osa Director, with himself as the coordinator while his foundation, Solomon Ehigiator Arase Foundation, was in charge of the scholarship awards.

The former IGP, who disclosed this in a welcome address in Benin City, capital of Edo State, during the maiden edition, Annual Lecture Series/Scholarship Awards with the theme: “Citizens in Security Management: Edo State Model”, said the items donated were a Sienna salon car, 500 motorcycles-7 per LGA,1,400 customised T-shirts -200 per LGA, 1,400 customised fez caps-200 per LGA, 1,400 whistle-200 per LGA, Raincoats-30 per LGA and 30 touch lights per LGA.

The former police helmsman, therefore, appealed to well-meaning Edo people to contribute to this pioneering efforts by the patriots mentioned above so as to support the vigilant operatives with stipends and other relevant items such as walkie talkies, cell phones, denim trousers, and canvas/boots.

His words: “Studies have shown that criminals thrive and state security remains perpetually threatened in a state, where there is a deep gulf between policing agencies on the one hand and the citizens on the other hand.

“Therefore, there must come a time in the life of a state when all the citizens must of necessity resolve to frankly engage with their law enforcement agencies and build a strong synergy in order to defeat a common enemy. For us, as a people of Edo State, there is no other auspicious time for this than now,” Arase declared.

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