The Federal Government has said it produced 625,000 passports within five months through the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, who said this yesterday, noted that the enhanced passport of the NIS was the real deal in passport making.
He described the international travel document as a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance.
In a statement by his media aide, Sola Fasure, the minister said the 625,000 passports were issued to Nigerians desirous of acquiring the travel document in 2022 alone.
Aregbesola spoke at the rollout of enhanced e-passport for Delta and Edo states at the Passport Office Headquarters in Benin, the Edo State capital.
“Our enhanced passport is the real deal in passport making. Today’s event is unique in many ways. The most important is making the enhanced e-passport available to the good people of Edo and Delta states. The enhanced e-passport comes in various categories, including the 64-page 10-year validity passport which is quite convenient for frequent travellers. It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance.
“This year alone, we have received about 750,000 applications out of which we have provided 625,000. The difference could have been due to many reasons, including failure of applicants to provide the correct information about themselves and matching their data with NIN. We could not contact them because they applied through louts who provided their own addresses or wrong ones altogether.
“But 625,000 is a huge and unprecedented figure, in less than half of the year, by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.
Aregbesola said President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about the hassles Nigerians go through in securing the passports, adding that the job of the NIS is to ensure that Nigerians desirous of getting the passport do so with ease.
He said: “President Buhari’s charge to us is explicit: make life easy as much as possible for every person you have to relate with and remove every hurdle hitherto in their way on getting business done.
“Last week, President Buhari expressed concern about a report that some Nigerians, especially those abroad, were unable to obtain their passports. I share this concern as well.
“I am asking, therefore, that the NIS do everything within its power to make this a thing of the past. Every Nigerian desirous of the travel document should be able to collect it within the stipulated time without any stress whatsoever.”
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki said his administration was ready to partner the Federal Government and the NIS to deliver on its mandate to Nigerians.
The governor promised to build a deserving Passport Centre in Auchi for the service.
“Let me reiterate here, like I told the minister, that the state government of Edo will partner the Federal Government and the NIS in helping them to deliver on their mandates to Nigerians.
“We would build in six months, by God’s grace, a passport centre in Auchi for the NIS so that they are able to service our citizens from that side of the state,” he said.
NIS Acting Comptroller General Idris Isah Jere assured Nigerians of the determination of the service to smoothen its services to the nation.
“Nigerians can rest assured of getting a non-judgmental service at this centre in Benin. Our officers are well-trained and ready to discharge their duties professionally.
“Applicants are advised to ensure their NIN details are exactly the same with their passport application details to avoid a situation where the applications are unable to be processed due to a mismatch of data,” Jere said.