The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on Wednesday, revealed how he caught an officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) watching Big Brother Naija reality TV show instead of screening foreign passengers at an undisclosed airport.
Tunji-Ojo stated this during an interview monitored by THE WHISTLER on Human Rights Radio, popularly known as ‘Brekete Family’
According to the minister, he caught the officer while he was arriving in the country from a foreign trip. The unnamed officer was said to be watching the reality TV show instead of attending to passengers seeking visa on arrival to the country.
Tunji-Ojo said there was a need for better service and efficiency in NIS operations, especially in dealing with foreign visitors who are capable of bringing economic benefits to the country.
He called for collaboration among stakeholders to improve the image of the country in the international community, admitting that it is difficult for one individual to bring the desired change.
“Anybody that’s entering Nigeria, the way our people will talk to you is no longer like before. Just two weeks ago I came in from Italy, and as I was coming out, they came and welcomed me and wanted to carry my bag but I said no.
“I told them not to call their colleagues and that they should return to their duty post where they call for a visa on arrival. The plan that President Tinubu has, if all of us join hands, this country will be better.
“One person cannot bring change, all of us must change Nigeria. So, when I got there to see what they’re doing, because they didn’t know I was coming, I saw people waiting in the queue, people that wanted to collect visas, and foreigners that wanted to enter Nigeria were not being attended to.
“I walked to the place because I appeared casual and I didn’t go with any convoy escorts. When I got there, I looked at the computer, the officer was supposed to give people visas, what I saw was Big Brother Naija. Immediately, I told the officer to leave, since you like the air conditioner at the airport, they will redeploy you to another place.
“I know what the president tasked the ministers with. He said we must be briefing him on everything we are doing and how we achieve them because he wants the country to be better. How do you explain keeping foreigners that brought money to spend in our country? You kept them waiting while you watched BBNaija with the computer the government bought for you to do its work.”
Speaking further, the Minister revealed that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cleared additional 52,000 passport backlog within one week
“All pending passports within three weeks were cleared on October 2nd. However, there was a new backlog of 52,000 due to increased applications by Nigerians. Fortunately, this backlog was cleared within a week. It’s expected that the backlog will be under 10,000 within the last week, and the system will be fully stabilized, ensuring passport processing within two weeks at most.”
The minister further said that the present government is committed to protecting Nigerians’ rights.
“This particular government cares about you and will protect your rights, nobody should treat Nigerians’ rights as a privilege,” he said