FG To Domesticate Production Of International Passports, Reform Police Force.
The Federal Government is planning to domesticate the production of International Passports and save the country millions of dollars committed annually to the exercise since 2007.
It also emerged on Sunday that the FG is set to announce some reforms in the management of the nation’s Police Force.
Sources close to the administration confirmed the twin developments as part of the activities being spearheaded by the Minister of Interior, General Abdurahman Dambazzau in his bid to ensure optimal performance by agencies under the Ministry.
It was gathered that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will soon deliberate on a memo that will unveil details of Police Reforms in the Ministry’s bid to improve national security.
Sources close to the administration told the Nigerian Tribune at the weekend that a number of innovative measures aimed at border control, better policing of the citizens are about to be reeled out by the Ministry of Interior.
It was confirmed that the Minister recently opened discussions with the Immigration service on the possibility of local production of Passports and that the Minister has already mandated the Service to liaise with the Nigerian Security, Printing and Minting Company to actualise the policy.
“Just recently, the Minister called the Comptroller General of Immigrations and asked whether it was not possible to produce passports locally. He told the CG that the company in charge has been producing passports in Maylasia and Singapore since 2007 and that it is no longer cost effective or security wise to keep doing that. By doing that they are exposing Nigerian data to foreign sources.
“The Minister has directed that the Immigrations should partner with Mint and they are already talking,” a source in the know said.
The source further stated that the Minister, while giving the directive told the Immigration and Mint that if he has his way, his first step would be to stop the contract for production of Passport booklets but the fear that it would lead to scarcity of booklets and impose hardship on Nigerians informed the gradual process.
Besides the local production of Passports, the Ministry of Interior is also said to be considering Fast tract centres where passports can be secured the same day on payment of a fee.
“On the directive of the Minister, the Immigration is working on a Fast Tract centre whereby if you need the Passport you can get it the same day if you are ready to pay extra,” a source said.
In another development, it was also gathered that the Federal Government has concluded arrangements to commence aerial patrols of the borders with the revival of Immigration Air wing.
The plan is said to be targeted at controlling the influx of herdsmen, illegal immigrants and smugglers.
“The Immigrations has three aircraft, there is one that is almost brand new in that it has few number of flight hours, the Ministry of Interior has decided to revive all that to bring them back in shape.
Very soon, we will have aerial patrols at our borders,” another government source said.