By Magnus Effong
The Comptroller of the Cross River state command of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Simbabi Baikie, has disclosed that 2,560 passports have remained unclaimed in the State Headquarters of the Service in Calabar since 2019.
Baikie, who made the disclosure in Calabar, during a chat with Journalists, called on the owners of such passports to claim them since the Service does not have enough space to perpetually keep the passports.
“2,560 passports have not been collected, some dating back to 2019. Applicants came to our office and applied for passports, met all the necessary requirements but they have refused to come back to collect their passports,” he stated.
Passport Control Officer and Deputy Comptroller of Immigration, Clementina Ogbudu, corroborated, adding that the unclaimed passports would become unusable after five years.
Asked on his challenges since he took over in July last year, the Comptroller said the space housing the state command was too small and that it explained why senior officers were sharing offices with the junior ones with little or no demarcation.
He said, “I have made a request to the State government for the provision of 33.4 hectares of land so that we could move from here.
“We don’t have a good conference hall so we have to manage this small one. Yesterday, I had to address my officers and men under a hot sun because this place cannot contain us. We need a standard barracks.”
The Comptroller also appealed to the State government to help out with patrol vehicles and boats to help the Immigration Service cover the vast Cross River landmass and the maritime boundary.
He however lauded the State government for providing land for the command to build its own jetty, and noted that since he took over about five months ago, the command was indeed wearing a new look, apart from the training and retraining of staff which has become a priority.