Despite multiple reports of a passport booklet shortage which has forced the government to implement an e-passport for returning Nigerians from the United Kingdom and the United States, the Federal Government has denied that there is a passport booklet shortage in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola in a statement issued by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Mr Sola Fasure, on Tuesday in Abuja, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
He added that the Federal Government has cleared all backlogs of passport applications.
What the ministry is saying
Aregbesola said the ministry has made efforts to make passports available to Nigerians, citing that in 2021, it provided 1.3 million passports to Nigerians.
- “As at today, there is no booklets shortage in Nigeria.
- “As at the second quarter of 2022, the Nigeria Immigration Service (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 State.
- “We have also sent sufficient booklets to all the centres nationwide to address this challenge,” the minister said.
He also revealed that 10,000 passport booklets have been deployed to the new Port Harcourt passport production centre to fast-track passport issuance in the area, adding that the centre would now be responsible for passport demands from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa.
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- “With these efforts, there was no excuse again for delays and non-issuance of passport within reasonable period across the country.
- “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 through the NIS portal and not through touts and unscrupulous officials, which often brings heartaches,” he added.
Aregbesola said that a six weeks and three weeks window for fresh application and renewal respectively had been provided after biometric data capture, within which the passport will be ready.
“We are also introducing data capture centres all over the country before the end of 2022, to eliminate physical contacts with NIS officials,” he added.
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In case you missed it
- Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Immigration Service announced the launch of the enhanced e-Passport for Nigerians in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, which comes with a ten-year validity.
- The e-passports were launched last year to counter the passport booklet crisis facing the Service.
- The NIS had then, said the process of securing a passport had been riddled with challenges from the shortage of booklets to louting, with an economy of corruption built around it.