Abuja — The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Ministry of Interior through the Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Identity Management Commission and other relevant agencies to fully automate the processes of Passport and National Identity Card issuance.
It further demanded that concerned agencies should reduce the incidences of physical attendance; as well as the waiting period for fresh passport issuance and for renewals to a maximum of ten working days or less.
The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the need to streamline the services being rendered to Nigerians by Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions Abroad moved by Hon. Obinna Chidoka.
Moving the motion, Chidoka said Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions are the nation's flagship territories abroad and as such should project the best image of Nigeria's pride and the best example of the values placed on citizens.
He noted that the Embassies and High Commissions are safe havens for Nigerians in diaspora, whether living abroad or traveling abroad;
The lawmaker, however, decried the deplorable level of services rendered by Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions around the world to Nigerians, particularly those in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA in the area of Passports, National Identity Card issuance, renewals and ancillary services;l.
Chidoka lamented that the treatment meted out on Nigerian citizens abroad by officials of the Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions have not only affected the lives and businesses of the concerned citizens, it has brought shame and disgrace on Nigeria's image and the psyche of our citizens;
He pointed out that there have been reported incidences of extortion and fraudulent intimidation by Embassy and High Commission officials in the past;
The lawmaker said, "Unless an urgent measure is taken to put a permanent halt to this trend, the nation's Embassies and High Commissions will become a terror to the people they were established to serve."
The House resolved: "The Federal Ministry of Interior through the Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Identity Management Commission and other relevant Agencies to fully automate the processes of Passport and National Identity Card issuance to:
(a)reduce the incidences of physical attendance;
(b)reduce the waiting period for fresh Passport issuance and for Renewals to a maximum of ten (10) working days or less."
"Ensure that only statutory charges are payable for services through officially designated channels."
The House also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to streamline the activities of the nation's Embassies and High Commissions towards efficient service delivery to Nigerians abroad.
It also mandated the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to investigate the allegations and report back within two weeks.