An Immigration officer has revealed that the rate at which Nigerian footballers are providing false age declaration in the bid to apply for International Passport is becoming a source of worry and this may lead to their being arrested soon.
The officer who spoke with Sports Intelligence Magazine correspondent on grounds of anonymity at the Ikoyi Passport office today revealed this.
“It has been tough, trying to process International Passports for footballers” she started.
“And we have noticed that since we started asking for the National Identification Number (NIN), a lot of them have fallen victims of false age declaration”.
“When they come here and fill the application forms for passports” “They enter a particular age and present an age declaration to support it”.
“When we ask for their NIN and do a background check, we discover the information does not correspond”.
“This has led to several discrepancies and it is becoming a source of headache to us”. “Most of them use ages that are extremely different from what is in their NIN”.
Sports Intelligence Magazine craved to know if footballers applying for new passports are those affected by this, but the officer further clarified.
“It is not only those applying for new passports”. “Most of the affected footballers are those who want to renew their International passports”.
“They must have forgotten that the age they provided for their NIN will be linked”. “But when they come here with a false age declaration, this wrong information are detected”.
“Although, the Immigration service have not made an official statement on that”. “But if this anomaly continues, we may be forced to start arresting them for false age declaration”.
“We hope this anomalies will not get out of hands” . “it makes us waste so much time trying to work on an individual’s passport” she said.
Sports Intelligence Magazine further probed to know if it was basically footballers that were having this issue, but the officer replied.
“More than 70 per cent of cases we have had are footballers”. “Most importantly those renewing their passports”. “They always come with a new age to reduce the one in their former passports”.
“It is on the increase on and on daily basis”. “They are becoming seriously desperate to travel for trials with false age declaration”.
“It is telling on us as officers processing these passports and also slowing the pace at which we can process these passports on daily basis”
“We know that they lose their monies too, as payments made for passports are not refundable”. “Moreover, it will be impossible to process the renewal of these passports when there are discrepancies between the age provided and what we have on their NIN” she concluded.
The issue of age-cheat has become a source of concern to the football community in Nigeria and Africa as a whole”. Stakeholders have made series of calls for measures on how to address it.
Interestingly, the NIN seem to have come to the rescue. It will be difficult for any footballer or individual to posses two different passports with different data.
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