By NBF News
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The attention of the Management of the Nigeria Immigration Service has been drawn to a flagrant and unfathomable publication in one of the national dailies on Thursday, February 10, 2011 entitled; 'The Rebranding War in Immigration.'

The article may have been motivated out of the fullness of heart of the officer over what he perceived as the humane approach of the present Comptroller General of Immigration to the management of the Service. However, his views more or less, trivialized the real essence of the intervention programme as well as raised others false and misleading issues.

The resolve of the management of Nigeria Immigration Service to involve more officers in the programme was as result of the following factors: 1)The fears and panic amongst Nigerians in Diaspora over the previously approved deadline for the cut over date from the Machine Readable Passport to electronic passport (e-passport)2) The calls from many Nigerian Heads of Missions and Ambassadors urging the Service to expedite action on the installation of e-passport issuing equipment in their Countries of accreditation.

They had also expressed grave concern over what actions Nigerians would take if they fall out of Legal Immigration Status due to the inability of relevant authorities to have the new e-passport issuing equipment installed in their Embassies. 3) The fact that even in countries, where e-passport issuing equipment has been installed, the computer generated interview dates had programmed applicants for several months after the cut over date. An example is Britain where applicants are programmed for interview till September 2011. It therefore became obvious that a drastic action was required so as to mop up the excess demand from this class of Nigerians.

Hence, the Mobile e-Passport Acquisition Equipment came in handy for this exercise which is still on-going. It is amazing and touching, watching the grateful outbursts from some Nigerians in Diaspora, who have benefited from this exercise. Furthermore, the e-Passport intervention exercise has largely saved countless Nigerians from being repatriated as well as prevented the huge financial loss and psychological trauma this would have caused them and which would have also led to drastic fall in the flow of remittances from abroad.

It is also worthy of note that not only Nigerians are grateful for this heartwarming gesture of Federal Government operatives of recognizing and addressing the needs of Nigerians outside our shores but also several Ambassadors have written to thank the Comptroller General of Immigration and praise the comportment, zeal and diligent manner with which NIS officers discharged their duties abroad. In addition to all theses benefits, the scheme has also challenged officers and men of the Service to improve on their IT knowledge. Against the background of the afore-stated overwhelming advantages of the e-passport intervention initiative to the nation and in particular to Nigerians in Diaspora, it is totally myopic and absolutely unnecessary to view the scheme from its import to the welfare of Immigration personnel. To situate the programme within the purview of officers' welfare is to completely miss the mark and belittle the overriding essence.

This is for the simple fact that all officers who participated in the exercise were only paid estacode as approved by the Federal Government as well as the cost of economy class air tickets. Finally, it is important to stress at this juncture that, it is the determination of the management of Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that no Nigerian in Diaspora suffers loss of his/her lawful Immigration Status as a consequence of the cut-over from Machine Readable Passport (MRP) to the e-Passport.

 (Chief Superintendent of Immigration) Immigration Service Public Relations Officer

 This is in fulfillment of the widely applauded Federal Government policy of Citizen -Centre Diplomacy.

(Chief Superintendent of Immigration) Immigration Service Public Relations Officer