Rivers Governor, Wike Faults BVN Requirement for Issuance of E-Passport

Rivers Governor, Wike Faults BVN Requirement for Issuance of E-Passport

The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has faulted the requirement of Bank Verification Number (BVN) for issuance of an electronic-passport by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

The governor, who lauded the service for introducing the e-passport with 10-year validity that would enable Nigerians acquire long-term visas, said the requirement for BNV was unnecessary. Wike stated this during the rollout of the enhanced travel document in Port Harcourt yesterday by the state Comptroller of Immigration, Mr. Segun Adegoke.

The governor, who said he was impressed by the improved security features on the new passport, insisted that the requirement that Nigerians must supply their BVNs before obtaining the passport was uncalled for. He said: “I was surprised yesterday when I was told to bring my Bank Verification Number (BVN). Assuming I have a child, who is one year old and I want to travel with my child, are you telling me that my child cannot travel, perhaps because he does not have a bank account?

“I told them, you have my salary account, go and check my BVN. I don’t know how the BVN has become a factor in the issuance of international passport. That is not acceptable. If this is the only way that we can check corruption, then we have failed. As a governor, you know my salary; you know my account and this can be collected from the Code of Conduct Bureau. It is not hidden.”

The governor noted that the requirement that all those seeking to obtain the passport must have National Identity Number was key. “The integration with the national identity number is very important. It is an innovation which is encouraging,” he said. Wike advised federal agencies to stop depending on state governments for their operations.

According to him, federal agencies should appreciate that the responsibilities of states were enormous. “Today, you have asked. The police will ask, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will ask, the Army will ask and other federal agencies will also ask. How are we going to survive?“ he queried.

He appealed to Rivers people to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain their international passports. “I want to thank you for this innovation. I know that since you launched it here, I should also do something good, but not today. I urge our people to take advantage of this facility to ensure you come to get your international passport. Also go and register for your National Identity card, it is very important,“ Wike added.

The governor commended the Comptroller-General for taking Port Harcourt first in the commencement of the issuance of the document in the South South and South-East zones. Governor Wike and his wife, Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, were both captured and presented with the new passport.

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