The Passport Office has introduced some measures to ensure sanity in the acquisition of passports in the country. It includes the installation of telephone lines applicants can call to verify the status of their applications.
The installation of the telephone lines about a month ago has since brought calm at the Ridge Passport Office which used to be a scene of stampede and confusion.
During a visit by the Daily Graphic to the Passport Office at Ridge, it was realised that the number of people at the main entrance to the Passport Office where it usually took the involvement of security personnel to ward off recalcitrant applicants and middlemen popularly referred to as ‘goro boys,’ had drastically reduced.
On display on the premises was a notice indicating that the office was not opened to the public. It also included the telephone numbers through which applicants could make enquiries regarding their application status. They are: 0299011200, 0299011201 and 0299011203. The number for the Accra Park application centre (Tema Station) is 0302967428.
The Director of Passports, Mr Alexander Grant Ntrakwa, said as part of efforts to reduce the pressure at the various passport application centres across the country, the office had also introduced an online application system.
He explained that, hitherto, the frequent breakdown of machines contributed to the delay in the issuance of passports but that after the installation of new printing machines, the processes had become faster.
The director, however, observed that despite the new measures put in place, some people still besieged the Ridge Office which was considered a security zone to mount pressure on the authorities.
Mr Ntrakwa said there were plans to open other regional passport application centres in Cape Coast, Wa, Koforidua and Bolgatanga to cover the entire country.
He indicated that the Ridge Passport Office was not an application centre except for emergency cases. The director therefore advised applicants to seek services at the various regional application centres.
While sanity has been restored at the Ridge Office, the situation at the Tema Station Passport Centre continues to record more applications with ‘goro boys’ and fraudsters taking advantage of the situtation to dupe desperate applicants.
A visit to the Accra Park Centre yesterday saw applicants waiting for their turn to submit their applications.
One applicant who gave his name only as Michael told the Daily Graphic that he had to pass the night on the premises last Monday to guarantee him a place to be biometrically captured for the processing of his passport due to the large number of applicants.
Expatiating on the ‘goro boys’ phenomenon, the director in-charge of the Accra Park Centre, Mr Theodore Yeboah, said the boys usually created the false impression that they were working closely with officers at the centre to give them some credibility.
He said some of them sometimes manoeuvred their way into the data capturing hall which he said posed a security threat. According to the director, a minimum of 250 and a maximum of 400 applicants get captured by the system on a daily basis.
Source: Daily Graphic
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|