Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has directed passport offices across the country to work on Saturday amid the surge in demand for international passports.
The directive which was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Akuneme, noted that the directive is aimed to enable the Service to reduce the backlog occasioned by the 2020 and 2021 prolonged lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CG has directed that passport offices across the country with a high volume of pending applications to work on Saturdays. (However), the Saturdays preceding the Christmas and New Year holidays are exempted.
“The period for this exercise is expected to be every Saturday commencing from December 3, 2022, to January 28, 2023, between the period of 10 am and 2 pm,” the statement partly read.
Investors King understands that Nigerians have been going through a long queue while trying to acquire an international passport. In some cases, it could take as long as four to six months.
This long queue has created room for racketeering. A standard passport which normally costs N26,000 is being done at the rate of N50,000. It could be as high as N70,000 to N100,000 in some cities such as Abuja and Lagos.
According to the statement, the Controller-General of the immigration service has also approved the deployment of the Passport Controller in Ekiti to Jigawa, while the one in Ondo was moved to NIS Zonal Office in Ibadan.
The CG added that he will hold passport officers accountable for any acts of indiscipline by officers under their watch.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of irregular migration, so as not to waste their future.
The CG who gave the advice disclosed that the service will intensify its efforts to sensitize Nigerians on the danger of irregular migration.
He noted that most of the victims are being brainwashed by travel agents who only care about making money from such trips.
NAHCO Says Strike Didn’t Cause Major Business Loss, Plans Salary Increment Dialogue With Workers
The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has stated that the industrial action recently embarked on by airport workers did not cause a great loss in the sector.
It assured that negotiations on the agitation for salary increment for workers would begin on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 to Saturday, January 28th, 2023.
Investors King recalls that in the early hours of Monday, January 23, 2023, both local and international airports were shut down and flights grounded due to the strike of some aviation workers but at about 3pm that same day, the strike was called off and work continued.
In a press statement obtained by Investors King on Wednesday, signed by the Company Secretary, Dikko & Mahmoud Solicitors, Bello Abdullahi, clarifications were presented on what transpired.
Abdullahi explained that the industrial action was embarked on by some members of staff of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association (ATTSSSAN) to request for salary increase and protest NAHCO Management as touching their demands.
According to him, their action was in violation of the pronouncement by the National Industrial Court on 20th January 2023.
“The withdrawal of services by the striking workers led to NAHCO Plc’s inability to provide service to our client airlines. The resultant effect was that scheduled flights were unable to operate from our airport stations across the country, thereby leaving passengers stranded across the various airports,” he stated.
Abdullahi disclosed that a meeting was held by the NAHCO Plc management, the affected unions, the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Department of State Security (DSS) and other stakeholders at NAHCO Plc Head Office in Lagos on Monday.
He highlighted the resolutions enacted at the meeting as:
- The discontinuance of the suit filed against the NUATE and ATTSSSAN unions at the National Industrial Court.
- Issuance of a counteroffer to the Union’s demands by the NAHCO Plc Management before close of business of Monday, January 23, 2023.
- Commencement of negotiations on salary increment on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 and conclusion by Saturday, January 28th, 2023.
- The immediate resumption of all staff to work.
- Non-victimization of staff due to participation in the strike action.
The Company Secretary then assured the public and shareholders of the organisation’s commitment to quality delivery of aviation services.
Passengers Stranded as Local, International Airports Officials Embark on Strike
In the early hours of Monday, aircraft commuters were stranded as the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) commenced industrial action over workers’ salary increase.
Investors King reports that several local and international airports were closed down leaving the passengers outside and unattended to.
This was observed at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, (MMA2) Lagos, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), Air France/KLM, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Air and some others where NAHCO handles check-in, boarding and ramp services.
Passengers have lamented the situation, saying that no information, notice nor emails were sent to them to inform them ahead.
One of the international airport customers, Alex Nwuba who already booked a flight to Qatar, said he was disappointed when a member of NAHCO staff told them that they will not attend to any passenger because they are on strike.
He said the Qatar flight he ought to board already landed in the morning but has flown to Doha since there is no body to handle it.
Travellers whose flights have been delayed or rescheduled called for urgent attention to forestall further grounding of flights.
Investors King learnt that the NAHCO management had a meeting with its staff on Sunday before embarking on the strike action on Monday.
According to an aviation analyst, Daniel Young, the situation will result in enormous financial losses by passengers if not solved timely.
“These individuals who pepertrate these actions are obviously oblivious of the long term efffects of some of those insensitive decisions they take. This behaviour by NACHO staff portrays the company as one whose self distruct code is activated. Even more so, it affects the overall perception of the country and the aviation industry,” he said.
Young urged the federal government to intervene before the matter gets out of hand as the country is currently going through a lot.
Nigeria Immigration Builds New Passport Office in Abeokuta
To ease the current passport collection difficulties experienced by Nigerians, the Nigeria Immigration Service has begun the construction of the Abeokuta passport office in Ogun State.
The Immigration Service Public Relations Officer, Deputy Controller, Tony Akuneme, in a statement, noted that the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr. Isah Idris, laid the first bricks for the construction.
According to the statement, this was part of the Comptroller General’s tour of Immigration formations in Zone A comprising Lagos and Ogun states.
Mr. Idris while laying the bricks for the new office reiterated that he intends to end the hardship on passport collection as he said the new office is coming timely, and that on completion, it would enhance passport processing and production.
“Part of my agenda is to make passport acquisition seamless. And the only way we could do this is to improve, build the structures, and equip it so that Nigerians can get these services seamlessly without tears. This is indeed a timely project for upgrading our service delivery to the people of Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole.
“This development will surely enhance passport processing and production in the Gateway State. I congratulate the personnel of the Ogun State Command of the NIS, and I can assure that this project will also help them deliver optimal service to the people of the state at all times.”
As part of his tour of the state command, the immigration boss also paid courtesy visits on the State Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, and the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, thanking them for their support to the NIS as he also lauded the people of the state for their support to the immigration service and urged them to always stand for the progress of the nation.
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