The Federal Government has said that it intends to process at least two million international passports between January and May 2023.
The government also said that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) processed about 1.9 million international passports in 2022, indicating an 80 percent increase when compared to 2021 when the service printed just one million copies.
With this, the service processed 2.9 million passports in two years; 2021 and 2022.
The plan: Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the government was ready to massively improve its capacity and performance with the processing of more international passports to applicants.
Disclosing this in the Alimosho area of Lagos on Monday during the inauguration of a new office for the service, the Minister reiterated that the government had also made the passport application process more seamless with less human contact.
Aregbesola disclosed further that the new front desk office could only perform biometrics and picture capturing, but was not responsible for the printing of international passports.
Lagos leads applications: He disclosed that out of the 200,000 Nigerian passport applicants monthly, 100,000 of them are from Lagos State alone, stressing that the inauguration of the new office would reduce the pressure on the Ikoyi, Alausa and Festac offices of the service.
According to him, the three offices mentioned above could only process one thousand passports each month, maintaining that this was too inadequate to address the challenges of applicants from Lagos State.
He maintained that additional 14 front desk offices would be created in Lagos, while such would also be replicated in Daura, Zaria, Oyo and other major cities and states across the country. He said:
- “Since my appointment in 2015 as the Minister of Interior, we have commissioned 18 commands of NIS. We want to ensure seamless operation in our performance. This was what gave birth to this facility that we are commissioning today. Lagos needs an additional 14 of these structures to be able to cater for the demands of the state alone.
- “This is the first such facility that we are establishing in the country. So, Alimosho has the bragging right. Whenever anyone tells you that they have a such structure in their state, tell them you had it first.”
He, however, warned that the front desk office was not an express centre and warned applicants from patronizing touts.
He added that with more such locations across the country, especially in Lagos State, international passports could be processed within six weeks for fresh applicants, while renewal would only take three weeks.
The new desk office: The Acting Comptroller General of NIS, Mr. Isah Jere, described the inauguration of the front desk office as a legacy project aimed at bringing its service closer to the residents of Alimosho and its environs.
Jere insisted that the new office would reduce the complaints of applicants, adding that online application of passports would further reduce human interface.
He challenged its officers at the new office to be cautious and professional in their dealings with applicants, warning that any officer found wanting would be severely punished.
Mrs Orelope Adefulure, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goal (MDG), lauded Aregbesola for the gesture.
She maintained that having a passport office in Alimosho was not a mistake and urged the residents to cooperate with the service personnel.
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