Nigeria is making strides to maintain the country’s reputation and weed out people tarnishing the country’s image globally. It is now the first African country to successfully automate and integrate the system of monitoring stolen and lost travel documents (SLTD) with INTERPOL, the France-based international organization.
The Nigerian Immigration Service announced this last week in a statement signed by its public relations officer, Sunday James. Interpol commends this achievement and adds that out of the 194 member countries, Nigeria is the 54th nation to fully automate its SLTD.
“The 150,000 SLTD uploaded records in the INTERPOL database makes Nigeria the first ranking in Africa and 54th in the world according to the INTERPOL Police Global System(IPSG) ranking. Nigeria today is the leading first and only African country to have fully automated its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.”
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The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, advised Nigerians against the use of any passport that may have earlier been reported lost or stolen at any of its offices globally.
Babandede said in an interview that across INTERPOL’s 194-member states, “any Nigerian passport that may have been declared missing and registered with the system will be revealed on the spot at any the airports.”
He expressed worry that many would report a passport that is still in their custody as missing in order to request another one, only to be used for criminal purposes.
The laws in Nigeria permit individuals to change their names provided they can back the new name with a court affidavit and other supporting documents but, according to Babandede, people abuse the system and change their names because they want a fresh start in order to continue with their illegal affairs or clean their criminal records.
The STLD uploads will end such practices, according to reports.
“So, by this development, Nigerians are advised to desist from using fake, altered, invalidated, withdrawn, stolen and lost travel documents, since the documents are automatically made available to 194 member countries of INTERPOL.
“In recent times, some Nigerians have been intercepted in some airports around the world for using passports which they earlier reported lost or stolen,” Babandede said.
The NIS uploaded 150,000 records of Stolen & Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) to the INTERPOL Global System (IPSG), the Washington-based United States National Central Bureau (USNCB), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the National Central Bureau (NCB) of the Nigerian Police Force while acknowledging their support during the automation process.