The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has threatened to evict National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) from its Ikoyi Passport Office for allegedly collecting tips to register Nigerians for the National Identity Number (NIN), a development that has dented the NIS image.
A source at the NIMC Office in Ikoyi told journalists that there was anxiety that the agency might be evicted from the Passport Office, going by threats from the NIS boss, Mrs. Doris Braimah, who had accused NIMC officers of racketeering.
The source said Braimoh was angry that some staff members were trading with the registration and registering those who were not supposed to come to the premises.
“She warned that we are not staff of NIS. She is angry that Nigerians were mistaking the offices to be the same with NIS. We are aware that NIS accommodated us to serve travellers who require NIN.
“Those traveling on emergency need us close to the Passport Office and that is why we appealed to the Controller of NIS to prevail on officials to be patient with us, as we promise to comply with their directives. We have cautioned our officers to stop any thing inimical to our mandate.
“It is not as if we are trading with the registration, as it is being alleged, but some of our staff used the chance to assist their relatives and friends. But this has stopped. We are happy that NIS accommodated us because we are not their staff,” the source said.
But Braimah, who convened an emergency meeting of her office and NIMC, warned that NIS would not hesitate to evict NIMC. She said: “A security agent and a reporter have told me how the NIMC officials have been having a field day using NIN acquisition to trade,” insisting that they officers were there to register passport applicants and not people who were not applying for passports.
“You are here to collaborate with NIS to reduce the burden of applicants. You must desist from trading with the registration exercise. If I receive any more report on that, I will not hesitate to shut you out of the premises.”
“Anybody who is not an applicant has no business in this premises. You are not part of immigration, we are just accommodating you, but unfortunately, you are abusing the opportunity.
“If you have to be in this premises, you must adhere to the rules and regulations of NIS. The problem is that people don’t understand the difference between NIMC and NIS. So they mistake you for us.
“All applicants must be identified by an immigration officer for us to reduce crowd in the premises,” she warned. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier issued a two-week ultimatum to telecommunications operators to block all SIM cards not registered with the NIN, but the Senate intervened to extend the deadline.
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