FG takes pride in overcoming obstacles to producing passports.

The (FG) Federal Government warned applicants against turning to shady dealings in an effort to obtain the document, saying that its efforts to address the difficulties Nigerians face in obtaining these international passports are producing the desired results.

The disclosure was made at the commissioning of the Passport Front Desk Office in Oyo, Oyo State, according to Sola Fasure, the minister’s media adviser, who made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday.

Aregbesola urged Nigerians to support the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS’s reform efforts by not supporting the dishonest employees who are making the process difficult for them.

He claims that in an effort to allay the growing worries of Nigerians, the Oyo Passport Front Office is a component of long-term initiatives to make the process of data capturing, production, and collection, which are crucial areas of the passport process, easier.

He claimed that despite the surge in demand for the citizenship-affirming document, the NIS has managed to meet deadlines while upholding the highest standards.

“Over the past three years, Nigerians’ demand for passports has skyrocketed. Nigeria’s population is expanding. In other words, there have been more births than deaths over the last 30 years. As a result, more people have reached the age where they require a passport for identification purposes, international travel, and other reasons.

“All these increased demand, exceeding our capacity for production. But thankfully, we were able to resolve the issue and pay the arrears. For new applications, we are currently producing six weeks after biometric data enrollment, and for renewals, three weeks.

“But the delay between application and biometric data collection continues to be a problem. The waiting period occasionally lasts up to two months, depending on the location. This is due to the existing passport offices’ daily capacity limitations, which prevent them from quickly addressing all of the applicants and force them to impose lengthy waiting times.

“A front desk is a place where people can fill out and enroll in applications and provide their biometric information. Here, no conclusions will be drawn. However, all applications will be processed and compiled for production. Additionally, it is where the applicant will go to pick up their passport once it is issued.

“Despite the difficulties we encountered, we produced 1.9 million passports in 2018 compared to just one million in 2021. This is a record-breaking increase of about 80%.

The Automated Passport Issuance Process was created as a result of the NIS reform, which also saw the introduction of MIDAS, E-border Management, and the beginning of E-Passport across Passport Control Offices and Diplomatic Missions.

Aregbesola also made a suggestion that as part of the long-term measures, the private sector will be hired to operate lounges for a fee, using staff and equipment provided by the NIS to smooth out the waiting period following application.

All Nigerians have the right to obtain a passport, and those who live outside of the nation must have one. Without a passport, you run the risk of being considered a stateless person outside of the country because it validates both your identity and existence. However, our mandate is to effortlessly and stress-free provide the passport to every Nigerian who requests one. The core of President Muhammadu Buhari’s citizenship integrity mandate is that any Nigerian interacting with the government in any capacity must uphold this standard.

“It goes without saying that the waiting time will be shorter the more of this (the front desk office) we have. In the long run, we intend to work with private operators who will charge a fee to use the lounge, but the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will supply the staff and any necessary equipment. By doing this, the waiting time can be reduced to a few days.

The few dishonest officials undermining our efforts to sanitize the procedure and bring integrity to passport administration is one of the challenges we face in the field of passport administration. The absence of a booklet is their primary justification for refusing to issue a passport to a candidate. Simply put, this is untrue. It is merely a pretext for extortion.

“Unfortunately, they have continued down this destructive path because desperate applicants keep hiring them. But I’m pleading with Nigerians to stop patronizing them and sating their greed for money as part of your patriotic duty. Make it mandatory to notify my office or the office of the Controller General of Immigration of any such solicitation for gratification.

The governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, said that the state government will continue to support the Nigeria Immigration Service in the state. He was represented at the event by his special adviser on migration and homeland security, ACG Segun Adegoke (retd).

“We thank the Minister for working with the people of Oyo to establish this Nigeria Immigration Service passport office here to complement the one in Ibadan. It will play a significant role in facilitating our people’s legal migration.

“We (the Oyo State Government) nevertheless urge the Minister and the Nigerian Immigration Service to move swiftly to domesticate and ultimately issue the African Union Passports to Nigerians. This will encourage much-needed remittances in contrast to foreign direct investment from other African countries and make it easier for our citizens to migrate legally to the 54 countries of Africa without a visa, according to the governor.

Earlier, DCG Abdulmumuni Haliru, the acting director general of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, stated that the newly opened passport front office would increase the town’s social and commercial activity.

 

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