…insists it has right to check travel documents
Posted by Sade Williams
In a bid to ensure that its officers carry out their duties effectively and transparently, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos Command, has tagged the counters of its personnel at the airport.
The service said this was part of the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government, which came to effect in July 2017.
This is as the service also declared that its officers are up and doing in the discharge of their duties, not just at the airport, but in any of their commands.
Investigations by our reporter shows that each officer of immigration on duty had removable tags placed against his counter while attending to both arriving and departing passengers.
Our correspondent who visited the terminal, observed that all the 16 counters dedicated for immigration processes, were tagged.
The tag is removed when an officer finishes his or her duty while a new officer who reports for duty also put his name into the tag for easy identification.
A source close to the command told our correspondent said that the Comptroller General Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede, ordered the move for proper identification of officers especially those who have contact with passengers.
A top officer at the airport who didn’t want his name mentioned said that the tags at the counters of officers were to ensure accountability and identification of officers.
The service also insisted that its personnel had the right to check the travelling documents of any traveller departing or arriving the country.
According to the top officer, since the ease of doing business came into being, Babandede had do a lot to check activities at the airport with the introduction of visa on arrival for passengers, stressing that the immigration could refuse a passenger from travelling if they were not sure of his mission abroad.
Mr. James Sunday, the spokesman for the service, who spoke on phone with our correspondent, said that it was within the purview of the service to ensure that anyone departing the country had the necessary document that would aid his or her travelling.
He dismissed reports that immigration officials at the airports ask for grafts from the travelling public, stressing that anyone with complete travelling documents should not entertain any fear when approached by its officials.
He said: “I cannot start to talk on an issue that there is no fact on ground. The fact on the ground is that for anyone that is travelling, I believe by virtue of exposure, one should be able to know the name of the person that is travelling. Also, we have several agencies there that are in mufti and you can’t just attribute anything that happens at the airport to the immigration officers.
“It is not every time that when you are approached at the airport that it is the immigration that approaches you. It’s is not always true. Much as I can’t say much on the issue, I cannot confirm that our officer is involved in any shady deal at the airport. What I can say is that our officers wherever they are posted to, do their best to hold the integrity of the nation.”