The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS to clear over 200,000 pending applications for international passport held up in the various formations in and outside the country in the next two weeks.
The Minister gave the order during a meeting with top government officials, the Acting Comptroller General, Adepoju Carol, and the Managing Director of Iris Smart Technologies, a third-party company in charge of the production of passport booklets.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Babatunde Alao who disclosed this in a statement said the order comes in furtherance of his promise to remove “bottlenecks in the acquisition of passports and other immigration documents.”
Delays in the processing and enrolment of passports in Nigeria has been a source of frustration for citizens, causing significant delays in obtaining crucial travel documents.
The Minister noted that having to deal with about 200,000 backlogs calls for national emergency.
He said “as far as I am concerned, the issue of passport is a national emergency. I keep getting emails daily from Nigerians complaining. We cannot continue like that. It has become an embarrassment to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I represent him here as your Minister. That embarrassment is mine now. I am not changing my words. I need the backlog cleared in two weeks.”
During the meeting, the Acting Comptroller General, Adepoju Carol, and Managing Director, Yinka Fisher, assured the Minister that all necessary resources and measures would be deployed to ensure the expedited processing of these pending passport applications.
Adepoju disclosed that though the number of enrolment as of Thursday morning was over 200,000 across the country, the Service has been able to secure enough booklets to clear the backlog.