• en

Nigerian Passports Would be Issued Within Two Weeks, Says Interior Minister Tunji-Ojo

Registration would be done online while biometrics capture and the collection of passports will be at the office.

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has said that from December passports would be made available in two weeks to applicants.

The Minister also promised that Nigerians would also be saved of the pains of having to wait on the queue to upload the needed information to get passport issued. 

He said that registration would be done online and the only thing that would be needed to be done at any passport office is the biometrics capture and the collection of issued passports.

He said the ministry is working at getting the needed equipment to make this possible in December

The minister gave the promise during a press briefing where he disclosed to journalists how the ministry, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other stakeholders achieved clearance of 204,332  passports backlogs across the country within three weeks.

The minister said it all started when Mr. President said: “look I didn’t appoint you to that ministry to give excuses, go and change the narratives, especially of passports applications and collections. Nigerians have had enough of that problem. “

He said in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, the Ministry of Interior, the NIS, and other stakeholders aligned with “the talk and do” mantra of the present administration.

Tunji-Ojo revealed to journalists how the deadline he handed down on the 7th of September was delivered by the Immigration Service, stating that personnel of NIS had to do three shifts each day including Saturdays and Sundays to deliver.

According to him, the Service providers of the NIS were also made to double up their printing capacities and capabilities, especially in areas where passports backlogs were higher.

The minister said:” Yes. I gave two weeks deadline. I however have to apologise to Nigerians that we delivered on it in three weeks. We had 204,332 Nigerians whose data had been captured. And we cannot continue to watch them waiting endlessly. I visited the headquarters of the Immigration Service and told them the narratives must change.

“So in critical frontline desks like Ikeja, Alausa, Ikoyi, Ibadan, Abuja, we ordered that more printing machines be brought in by the Service providers. Then we increased the working hours of the personnel of NIS. They started running three shifts.

“Let me at this juncture commend the Acting Comptroller General of the Immigration Service, Mrs Wura-Ola Adepoju, especially for her positive responses to the pressures I mounted on her. I would call her late and demand updates, and she would provide updates. That was the spirit. “

Tunji-Ojo however revealed that so far out of the 204,332 backlogs cleared, only 94,981 have been collected by the applicants, leaving 109,351 yet uncollected.

He said while the entire backlogs were cleared as of October 1st, Nigerians should appreciate the extraordinary efforts of those who made it possible by showing up in the various offices of NIS to collect the travel documents.

He regretted that for instance in Ikoyi Passports office, 39,170 backlogs were cleared, only about 9,458 applicants have showed up to collect the booklets. And while 21,108 were cleared in Alausa, a huge number of applicants are yet to show up to collect the documents.

The Minister said to sustain the momentum, the Ministry would embark on some reforms with the NIS,  stating that by December this year, Nigerians can upload all supporting documents including their passports online to the Immigration Service.

He said the measures would reduce human interfaces and corrupt practices, while bureaucratic bottlenecks that have been dismantled would not resurface anymore.

According to him, applicants would only show up at Immigration offices for biometric capturing of data as it would reduce applications and collections of passports to two weeks.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

Follow us on: