On Tuesday, the Federal Government reaffirmed its dedication to easing the difficulties that Nigerians face in applying for and receiving Nigerian passports by enhancing service delivery and streamlining its internal processes.
In Ilesa, Osun, at the opening of the Ilesa Passport Front Office and Production Center of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Interior Minister Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made the statement (NIS).
Aregbesola pointed out that the rise in applications made it necessary to open more passport front offices around the nation. This, he claimed, was the result of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to making the procedure even more easy.
“In recent years, there has been an upsurge in passport demands by Nigerians. The first factor in this upsurge was the COVID-19 pandemic which affected our production schedule, due to restrictions on human movement.
“This created a backlog that we were trying to clear when an unprecedented number of Nigerians now decided to travel outside the country and applied for passports, thereby compounding the backlog challenge.
“Then, of course, the panic buying syndrome kicked in. Many people that have no immediate need for passports then started applying, creating a deluge of applications.
“Thankfully, that is behind us now. The backlogs have all been cleared and we are producing on schedule in all our centres,” he said.
The minister explained that “passport application now takes six weeks to be produced after biometric data capture, while passport renewal takes three weeks.”
He added that to respond to the backlog of passport production challenges, the NIS increased its production capacity and that in 2021, one million booklets were produced.
“Last year, we increased production to 1.8 million, nearly doubling our efforts. We shall keep working at it to ensure that we provide for as many Nigerians that are desirous of the passport,” he further said.
Isah Jere Idris, the Controller General of NIS, had already praised the leadership of the Ministry of Interior for providing the service with transformative leadership.
Idris claimed that during the past few years, there had been a determined effort to assure that Nigerians could obtain passports and other services with ease, as well as to secure internal security in the most practical manner. Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun similarly praised the minister for being a deserving representative of the state and assured him of Osun’s support in all respects. Adeleke additionally pledged to finish any unfinished projects in the state.
“When Aregbesola was governor, he loved the people and the people loved him. All the projects Aregbesola could not finish were left abandoned for years.
“I, however, promised the people during my campaign that I was going to continue the projects, that is what I am doing.
“As a federal minister from the state, we are proud of your achievements and we will continue to be proud of you,” he said.