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I just Got My Passport Renewed- By Foluso Phillips  

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I just got my passport renewed. So, what is the big deal you might ask? Well, I did it in what I regard as record time, by following the system. That is the big deal.

It all started with my desperate need to renew my passport very quickly because of my frequent trips and inability to leave my passport invalid for any period. So, I thought I will need to get some help to make this happen. I went straight to the very top of the passport issuing system, the Honourable Minister of the Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and was about to tell him my desperate story, when he said “Foluso, please just follow the system, go online and apply and if it is not working for you, then get back to me and we will find out why.” Obviously, I felt a bit miffed that he was not ready to help, then he added, “I will advise that you choose Shagamu as your passport office of choice, because you might be able to get a good date for an appointment”. At this stage, I knew he was not ready to help.

Did I have a choice? Of course not, I had just spoken to Mr Passport himself. Follow the system he had said, so I did and what a surprise!!

First, I thought to test the portal so I could brace myself for what I perceived was going to be a major data entry battle, but lo and behold, what started as a trial became a reality. I could not stop. Moving from one entry to another on my phone, I completed this form very easily…name, address, old passport number, National Identity Number, etc and before I knew it, I was asked to select a date from the calendar for my appointment in Shagamu (for finger printing and photograph) as advised. Guess what, the very next day was available. I booked it and the payment option showed up and with my card out, I paid in literally seconds and out came my payment receipt, appointment slip, confirmation of data entered etc and I was done. I could not believe it. I was compelled to call the Honourable Minister to say, “It worked”. I could hear his unspoken response “Of course it worked” and shared my delight that I had an appointment the next day in Shagamu for 12 noon.

I got to Shagamu at 11:45 am, braced and ready for hassle, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the sleepy town of Shagamu at that time in the morning was what I also found at the passport Office. It was quiet and orderly. There was a process. I was received along with others who had also just arrived. My time for appointment was confirmed, documents checked for completeness (old passport, appointment slip, 2 passport photographs and NIN print out as instructed on the portal). “Follow me sir” and I went into another section and within 20 minutes of sitting down was invited to take my fingerprints and photograph. A few minutes after that, I was given a slip to pick up my passport on Tuesday “next week”. This was on Thursday, and I was asked to come back 5 days later. I had to reconfirm the exact Tuesday and was reassured it was not an error – yes next Tuesday. Good people, I got my passport today – the Tuesday as promised.

Let’s analyse this. I must admit I got some help – my grey hair and grey beard gave me “old age privilege”, which fast tracked my data capture along with a priest and his elderly wife. You know that it is a Yoruba thing, to step aside for “agbalagbas” (older people). Apart from that, I just followed the system. I was assured that only the number of people to be processed each day are invited and the collection date never fails. The elderly Priest was just leaving with his passport when I got there. Apparently if you are over 70, you do not have to collect your passport personally (I am still working on that 70 part).

I must give kudos to the Minister of the Interior and his team, the IT guys who structured this efficient digitisation process and the Immigration crew at the passport office, who displayed such sense of service and help to people around. It was not rowdy in the least, and you have no business coming there if you have not got an appointment slip because the system will not just let you in. The beauty of this rapid digitisation that is going on in different parts of our government and civil service is that people cannot buck the system. You will be wasting your money paying anyone to “help” you in the passport office to fast track your passport because the system cannot be rushed beyond its digital commitment. For those who claim they are helping, they are only looking into what the system says it’s going to do and making you pay for that information – they do not make it any faster. If they do, the system screams and highlights these exceptions, which somebody had better be ready to explain.

My good people, honestly, trust the system, certainly at the passport office. Whilst, sharing my Shagamu experience with the boys at the club on Friday, another colleague confirmed that he got his passport from the Abeokuta Passport Office within two days of submission!! I guess the weekend interfered with my timing.

However, Lagos is a different issue. Its overcrowded, pushed beyond its capacity and frustrating at the best of times. Maybe, Lagos should have about three centres, just to bring a bit of sanity and even appreciation of the efforts of the Passport processing office. If you want to get your passport quickly, try Shagamu or Abeokuta for a start. I believe there are many other centres around the country. I am told the printing is done at certain regional points. Passports are printed in each hub on the same day every week for each collection centre. This makes weekly deliveries and commitments certain.

Honourable Minister Aregbesola, thank you for doing a great job and showing that we can sort ourselves out if we focus on a process that stops people from bucking the system. Of course, we will have rogue elements, but certainly not as a norm. Well done.
Good people, go get your passport if you must. It’s not a hassle. It certainly was not for me.

Foluso Phillips is the Chairman of Phillips Consulting Group

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FG Declares War On Vandals, Oil Thieves As Aregbesola Commissions 8 Newly Acquired Gunboats 

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The Federal Government has vowed to bring down its might on vandals and oil thieves who are sabotaging the nation’s economy, this is also as it charges the security forces to collaborate to end the scourge.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made the declaration at the commissioning of eight gunboats acquired for use by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday, 30 August, 2022.

“Those who steal crude oil not only deny the country of the much needed revenue, they sell the stolen goods at discounted prices, well below the market value. This black market creates a glut and forces down the official price. They have therefore made Nigeria to suffer the double jeopardy of loss in revenue and drop in value of the product.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has given us the resources and the marching order to take the war to them. As a step in this direction, the Federal Government is taking adequate steps to equip relevant security agencies and, by extension, the NSCDC, which is the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure,” the minister stated.

The Minister further stated that the government is not oblivious of the dangers crude oil theft portends for the country, stating that the value of such theft is estimated to be in its billions.

“In the latest estimate, billions of dollars are lost to oil thieves and vandals. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Federal Government is committed and determined to curb the menace of oil theft which is bleeding the economy mindlessly, a development which has led to a drop in the earnings of the government. This unhealthy development has equally led to environmental pollution and other health hazards recorded in places where crude and refined products have been unleashed on the environment from broken pipes.

“Government is not oblivious of the danger the above scenario poses to national security and socio-economic development. No responsible government would sit down helplessly and watch this reckless display of brigandage by a few unpatriotic and criminally minded individuals who put personal interest above any other consideration,” Ogbeni Aregbesola informed the public.

Speaking at the event, the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Abubakar Audi, mni, declared the Corps’ readiness to put an end to pipeline vandalism and pillaging of the nation’s resources.

“Let me use this medium to assure the Federal Government and the good people of this great country, that the Corps is determined more than ever before and fully committed to the war against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering and will therefore make judicious use of this operational equipment to take the war to the doorstep of these economic brigands and saboteurs.

 

“I have directed continued strengthening of effective synergy with the military, relevant sister agencies as well as other stakeholders in our avowed commitment to checkmate the ugly trend,” the Commandant General stated.

 

Also speaking at the event, the Garrison Commander, 6 Division of the Nigeria Army, Brig. Gen. S. S. Tilawan, said the war has the assurance of the Nigeria Military, noting that they will continue to support the fight against illegal bunkering of Nigeria’s crude oil product whilst strengthening the collaboration between the military and the NSCDC.

Also at the event were the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Frank; Sector Commander, FRSC, Umar Salisu; Commander, River State Command, NDLEA, Ahmed Mamnda; members of other security outfits and senior officers in the NSCDC.

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Lagos State Government Builds Multi-million naira Lekki Estate Ferry Terminal

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu is living  up to his campaign promises to make the state  more convenient to live for resident as well and one of the most beautiful states in Africa.

 

The governor since he got elected in 2019 hit the ground running improving the State’s socio-economic development, as well as security of lives and property, carefully fulfilling  the six pillars of the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda.

“The acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S, represents the six pillars of the State’s strategic development agenda, namely: Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism, as well as Security and Governance”.

The administration has again scored more points with construction of Lekki Estate Ferry Terminal in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

The construction of the project that is expected to commence in September, 2022 and complete under 12 months plans to support Lagos state on its mission to develop a multi-modal transport infrastructure through the delivery of a safe, efficient and affordable means of alternative transport on the inland waterways for the people and business of the state.

It is part of government effort to solve the transportation challenges in the state through the development of an efficient integrated multi-modal transportation system by encouraging private investment  in the sector. The project is in conjunction with Lekki Estate Ferry Terminal Limited and Plaform Capital who is investing millions of dollars for the project.

The infrastructure component of the project includes Shopping malls, car parks that would accommodate over 200 cars, floating restaurants and lounge, health safety and environmental services

The project is also aims to develop a ferry terminal along Admiralty way water front in Lekki Phase 1 belonging to Lagos state Ministry of Transportation, procure state of the art passenger ferries and operate water transportation services for the citizens residing in Lekki, Ajah, Igbo Efon, Ikota, Awoyaya, Lakowe, Sangotedo and its environs.

It is also intended to complement the efforts of state government in addressing the critical infrastructure shortage and bringing the dividend of democracy to the people through collaboration under a Private Partnership (PPP) with Lekki Ferry Estate.

Lekki Estate Ferry incorporated as an SPV to build, manage and operate maritime passenger and freight services. The company will offer transport services through its fleet of ferries with routes that include Lekki to Marina, Lekki to Ikorodu, among others.

 

 

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Our Insecurity Challenges Are Temporary – Aregbesola

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Aregbesola Speaks On FG’s Plan To Establish Fire Police -Crystal News

Aregbesola

The security challenges facing the country will soon be a thing of the past as they have been described as temporary.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made the assertion at the presentation of an award of the ‘Best Minister of the Year 2022’ at the 10th edition of the Heroes of Democracy Award Africa which held at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.

“Our nation is going through challenges, especially on security. These challenges are temporary and do not define us. We are defined by the greatness of the Nigerian people, in their strength, ingenuity and resilience, as exemplified by the quality of the recipients of today’s awards.

“We shall overcome all the challenges. A time is coming when we shall look at this period in retrospect and give thanks to the most high for the stormy waters we have waded through and the triumphs we have recorded over the challenges that look so huge and gargantuan today,” the minister informed the gathering.

Speaking further, the minister noted that he has never really taken award seriously, but was moved by the transparency with which the organisers came about the winners and the need to encourage others in public office to put in their best to advance the course of humanity.

“I came from an ideological tradition that places humanity in the centre of the universe and deprecates self. All our actions – physical, social, economic and political – should advance the cause of humanity. We therefore strive to solve all problems, as humanly possible, and provide the greatest good for the greatest number. These, and the grace of God, prepared and recommend me for every high office I have held and have been my guiding principles.

“But in all honesty, I have never been fazed by awards. However, given the open and transparent efforts made by the organisers and the extent to which they have gone to get the opinion of a cross section of Nigerians on their choice for the award, I am indeed humbled by their honest choice. It is my sincere wish that the award will inspire young people, upcoming politicians and others who are still looking forward to fulfilment in life. I want them to know that passion, dedication and doggedness are worthy virtues to attaining success and recognition,” the minister stated.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola further urged the youths to strive for self-development and pursuit of excellence in our quest for development and building a great nation.

The Minister of Interior emerged best ‘Minister of the Year 2022’ from a category with three other nominees which includes the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Ali Pantami and Former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.

Other awardees at the event are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who won Legislative Personality of the Decade Award; Governor of Niger State, Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello, who won the Man of the Year Award; Businessman and 2023 APC Presidential Aspirant, Mr. Tein Jack-Rich, who won Democracy Spotlight Politician of the year; Sen. Barau Jibrin, who won Senator of the Year Award amongst several others.

The event was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy Agba; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore; Business Tyconn, Alh. Sulieman Baba Ali; Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa; Nigeria Immigration Service, Idris Isah Jere amongst several others.

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