There is no shortage of booklets again for the production of passports in Nigeria, the Federal Government has claimed.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the claim at the commissioning of the Enhanced Passport Production Centre in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital on Tuesday.
The newly commissioned passport centre will now be responsible for the production of passport demands from Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States.
“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.
“We have also sent sufficient booklets to all the centres nationwide to address this challenge.
“There is, therefore, no excuse again for delay and non-issuance within a reasonable period,” the minister was quoted in a statement by Sola Fasure, his media aide.
The minister also urged Nigerians to always apply themselves 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 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 to 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 a passport-sized photograph from a Polaroid camera,” the Minister stated.
While speaking, Governor Nyesom Wike, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Gogo Banigo, promised to continue to support the Nigeria Immigration Service in the state, as it was the policy of his administration.