When will we ever get it right in Nigeria? Is it a fact that Nigeria is cursed and as such will always encounter setback in every undertaking?
These questions have always been on the lips of concerned individuals but no proper solution has ever been proffered on how we can get out of the dilemma.
I am presently going through a dilemma, a needless one at that, in the hands of the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) that promises much but delivers not.
My issue with them started from the day(Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021) that I stepped into their office situated in Akure, the Ondo State capital, in search of an international passport (which they now refer to as e-passport) which I am in need of. Since the Benin office of the NIS claimed that they do not have a booklet I had no choice than to travel to their Akure office which they claimed would have.
The trip from Benin to Akure that lovely Tuesday morning was memorable even as all passengers travelling the route were ever consciously looking out for any unexpected occurrence eg kidnap, robbery etc that’s the usual story that is heard on such trip.
On arrival in Akure I made straight for the office of the NIS to quickly transact the business that took me there and possibly return to Benin City that same day. But it was not to be as I experienced a little delay.
The official rate of the service is N35,000 which I was repeatedly told by my very reliable source I should not pay a kobo extra for but which I side stepped by adding an extra N5,000 with the hope that doing this may make the process much faster since I was told that the longest time it would take to acquire it is within six weeks of applying.
I got to the office early enough(10 am) I was seated like some others I met there at the reception lounge waiting patiently to be attended to. As I keep the wait I noticed some applicants who came in much later and who were able to call some officials to a corner were been attended to irrespective of the feelings of those that they met.
Soon at about 3.00pm a dark skinned officer who came to supervise how the process was been handled objected to seeing the same set of applicants who have been waiting patiently to be attended to since the early morning hours. He ordered that the process should be made much faster and all and sundry must be attended to(captured) before close of the day’s work. That was how I was ‘lucky’ to be attended to that afternoon whereby I was given an international passport jacket with a promise that in less than six weeks what I seek for would be ready for collection.
The next day as I returned to Benin my contact person (a highly placed official of the NIS) called to say that somebody is offering a international passport booklet for sale and if I can make an additional N10,000(ten thousand naira) available I could get my passport within three days. I responded in the negative to his proposition believing that the maximum six weeks period that I was earlier informed that the passport would be ready for collection is still reasonable. At least I was not in a rush.
However, as at this moment that I am writing this Thursday, October 14th, 2021 close to three months later, the process which I commenced on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021 is yet to yield a positive result. I am yet to get the ‘gold'(international passport) and all my efforts to link up with my contact in the Akure office of the NIS has been rebuffed as he doesn’t pick my calls any longer.
Nigeria, where did we get it wrong?!