CEM REPORT | The Federal Government has announced that the issue of passport shortage in the country has been resolved.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made the announcement on Tuesday while commissioning the Enhanced Passport Production Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The minister who noted that the newly commissioned passport centre will be responsible for the production of passport demands from Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States, was quick to add that it does not confer any advantage or disadvantage on any of the centres, noting that deployment of 10,000 booklets has been deployed to serve the four states with immediate effect.
“We have left no stone unturned in our quest to make passports available to Nigerians. Last year alone, we provided 1.3 million passports to Nigerians. As of today, there is no shortage in Nigeria.
“As of the second quarter of this year (in June), the NIS has provided 645,000 passports out of the 750,000 applications received. To address the challenge of the backlog, we have sent 11,000 booklets to Ikoyi, 11,000 to Alausa and 8,000 to FESTAC centres in Lagos.
“We have also sent sufficient booklets to all the centres nationwide to address this challenge. There is, therefore, no excuse again for delay and non-issuance within a reasonable period,”
“The production centre we are launching today will serve Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States for production purposes only. It doesn’t confer any advantage or disadvantage on the applicants in any of the four states. It is simply a production centre.”
He stated that a period of six weeks and three weeks have been provided for fresh application and renewal respectively.
He further called for early applications to avoid falling into the wrong hands in a rush.
“I will urge applicants for the Nigerian passport to apply early enough before their travel date to avoid cutting corners and falling into the hands of scammers and other opportunists. It is important also that they apply by themselves at the Nigeria Immigration Service portal and not through touts and unscrupulous officials, which often bring heartaches.
“We have provided a window of six weeks and three weeks for fresh application and renewal respectively, after biometric data capture, by which time, other things being equal, the passport will be ready for collection. This timeline is to enable NIS to investigate and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued. It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global the al standard. There is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world. The only wait-and-get passport is a passport-sized photograph from a Polaroid camera.”
The minister who was represented by his Media Adviser to the minister, Mr Sola Fasure, stated that there are currently no backlogs in any of the four states.
“We have also delivered 10,000 passports to this centre. This is in addition to the fact that there are no backlogs to be cleared. In some advanced countries we often like to cite, it takes months to procure their passports. But in addition to the standardized timeline, we have also introduced a tracking mechanism in the application process, to enable applicants to monitor the progress of their application.
“We are also introducing data capture centres all over the country before the end of this year, to eliminate physical with NIS officials. We shall continue to introduce necessary and available innovations to passport administration in order to best serve applicants in our quest for establishing citizenship integrity.”
While speaking, Governor Nyesom Wike, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Gogo Banigo, promised to continue to support the Nigeria Immigration Service in the state, as it was the policy of his administration.
“We will continue to support the Nigeria Immigration Service, just as we provided the building now housing the production centre.
“Just as we provide support to all security agencies in the state and in particular, the agencies under the ministry of Interior, we would continue to prioritize the welfare of the citizens of the state.”
Also speaking at the event, Acting Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Idris Isah Jere, revealed that the service will no longer condone any act of indiscipline by officers, noting that they must be professional in carrying out their assigned duties.