CEM REPORT, GOVERNANCE | The Federal Government has revealed plans to process at least two million international passports between January and May 2023.
According to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) processed about 1.9 million international passports in 2022, indicating an 80 percent increase when compared to 2021 when the service printed just one million copies.
This indicates that the service processed 2.9 million passports in two years; 2021 and 2022.
The Minister revealed this while speaking during the inauguration of a new office for the NIS on Monday.
He disclosed that out of the 200,000 Nigerian passport applicants monthly, 100,000 of them are from Lagos State alone.
Aregbesola noted that the government had made the passport application process more seamless with less human contact while stressing that the new front desk office could only perform biometrics and picture capturing, but was not responsible for the printing of international passports.
He stressed that the inauguration of the new office would reduce the pressure on the Ikoyi, Alausa and Festac offices of the service which could only process one thousand passports each month
He maintained that additional 14 front desk offices would be created in Lagos, while such would also be replicated in Daura, Zaria, Oyo and other major cities and states across the country. He said:
“Since my appointment in 2015 as the Minister of Interior, we have commissioned 18 commands of NIS. We want to ensure seamless operation in our performance. This was what gave birth to this facility that we are commissioning today. Lagos needs an additional 14 of these structures to be able to cater for the demands of the state alone.
“This is the first such facility that we are establishing in the country. So, Alimosho has the bragging right. Whenever anyone tells you that they have a such structure in their state, tell them you had it first.”
He, however, warned that the front desk office was not an express centre and warned applicants from patronizing touts.
He added that with more such locations across the country, especially in Lagos State, international passports could be processed within six weeks for fresh applicants, while renewal would only take three weeks.