To hold a diplomatic passport all your life, you must be a former President, Vice President or Head of State that Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has announced.
Those not in this category but who get diplomatic passports whilst in office must surrender same at the expiration of their tour of duty.
The NIS through its spokesman Chukwuemeka Obua stated that reports that it was planning to review the issuance of diplomatic passports to senators and House of Representatives members were untrue. The NIS noted that it has no such powers.
Obua, who acknowledged that there have been a lot of controversies surrounding the possession of diplomatic passports by certain Nigerians, said, “It is the prerogative of the federal government to determine the category of individuals entitled to hold it.” According to him, the eligibility list as presented to the NIS by the government in which members of the National Assembly are included, has not changed and “there is no directive from any quarters as alleged in media reports to delist any individuals or groups”.
He said the negative publications which alleged that the NIS boss was in the forefront for the facilitation of the withdrawal of diplomatic passports from the National Assembly members generated a lot of bad blood between the agency and the National Assembly.
Obua further explained that the eligibility list is compiled only by the president. “It is the responsibility and prerogative of every president or head of state to so nominate categories of public officers or citizens of the country who would carry the diplomatic passports.” He hinted that the NIS was really taken aback when it read the image-denting report stating that the comptroller-general who had not received any directive from the federal government to do anything was eager to implement the said order. He revealed that the country has the executive list on which the senators are still very much listed.