Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says there is no passport booklets shortage in Nigeria, as the Federal Government has cleared all backlogs of passport applications.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Mr Sola Fasure, on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the ministry has made efforts to make passports available to Nigerians.
“In 2021 alone, we 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 added that 10,000 passport booklets have been deployed to the new Port Harcourt passport production centre, to fast track passport issuance in the area.
The minister said that the centre would now be responsible for passport demands from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa.
Aregbesola said that with these efforts, there was no excuse again for delays and non-issuance of passport within reasonable period across the country.
The minister urged those seeking for passport to apply online to avoid being shortchanged by unscrupulous elements.
“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.
“This timeline is to enable NIS investigate and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued.
“It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global standard. There is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world,” the minister said.
He explained that in addition to the standardised timeline, the NIS had introduced tracking mechanism to enable applicants monitor the progress of their application.
“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.
He pledged that the Federal Government would continue to introduce necessary innovations in passport administration to serve applicants better. (NAN)