1.9 million passports issued in 18 months –FG
The Federal Government has said no fewer than N1.9 million passports have been issued to Nigerians between January 2021 and June 2022.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said a total of 1.3 million were issued in 2021 with no fewer 650,000 booklets have been collected by Nigerians as of June 2022.
Aregbesola who spoke at the commissioning of the Enhanced Passport Production Centre in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday stated that there is no longer shortage of booklets in the country.
In a statement by his Media Adviser Sola Fasure, Aregbesola said enough booklets had been distributed across the various centres nationwide.
The statement partly read, “We have left no stone unturned in our quest to make passports available to Nigerians. Last year alone, we provided 1.3 million passports to Nigerians. As of today, there is no booklet shortage in Nigeria.
“As of the second quarter of this year (in June), the 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.
The minister also urged Nigerians to make sure they apply themselves online to avoid being shortchanged by unscrupulous elements.
He said, “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 at the Nigeria Immigration Service portal and not through touts and unscrupulous officials, which often bring heartaches.
“We have provided a window of six weeks and three weeks for fresh application and renewal respectively, after biometric data capture, by which time, other things being equal, the passport will be ready for collection. 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 only wait-and-get passport is passport-sized photograph from Polaroid camera,” the Minister stated.
The Minister further stated that the Passport Production Centre launched in the state would serve applicants from Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states.
He added that the opening of the centre doesn’t confer any advantage or disadvantage on any of the centres, noting that 10,000 booklets have been deployed to serve the four states with immediate effect.