The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has blamed the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) for the hitches in international passport issuance to applicants.
It said the NIS had failed to utilise modern technology to verify the National Identify Numbers (NIN) of applicants.
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Many passport applications had suffered hitches in the last three months, owing to NIN verification issues.
But NIMC in a statement Monday night said NIS was to blame because it failed to employ modern identity verification methods.
“It behoves on NIS to leverage new ICT channels and the jointly agreed offline method to handle NIN verification requests for passport applicants.
“The recent reports of the purported inability of Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) to verify NINs of passport applicants has shown that these alternative verification channels are not being utilized to serve their teeming customers.
“…The Commission wishes to reiterate that the improved NIS slip and mobile ID app are credible and reliable channels to carry out NIN verification services,” the statement signed by NIMC’s spokesman Kayode Adegoke said.
It said the commission would continue to offer innovative solutions for digital ID usage and seamless services to support identification for development.
The statement said President Muhammad Buhari had approved the upgrade of the NIMS infrastructure and strengthened the capacity of the Commission to deliver on its mandate.
In the past year, it said NIMC had launched an improved NIN slip with QR Code and MobileID app to ensure that alternative channels for identity verification are provided.
It said: “These new channels put personal identity back in the hands of the ID holder and allows for easier and quick verification by simply scanning the barcode.
“All existing and prospective verification agents (all agencies of the Government and the private sector) are expected to utilize these available channels including the mobile web service (MWS) to verify the identities of their customers.
“The recent reports of the purported inability of Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) to verify NINs of passport applicants has shown that these alternative verification channels are not being utilized to serve their teeming customers”.
The spokesman for the NIS, Amos Okpu, is yet to respond to this allegation.