The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola yesterday said the ministry was working with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) under the leadership of acting Comptroller General Isah Jere, to reform the passport process so as to deliver improved services to all. This is just as he disclosed that the NIS has produced 1.5 million passports this year.
The office of the minister quoted Aregbesola as saying this in a statement on ministry’s Twitter handle yesterday. According to the statement, the minister was reacting to reports which said that NIS had directed that passport front offices be opened in hotels or banks.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Office of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been drawn to news publications with the above subject matter, where an unnamed individual was said to have represented the minister and made comments that are not in consonance with the policy drive of the ministry, which supervises the NIS.”
To be clear, the minister did not directly or indirectly state that passport front offices will be opened in hotels or banks.”
According to the minister, the ministry the passport process is being reformed by boosting the operations of the existing passport offices across the nation and the Diaspora to deliver improved passport experience for Nigerians with the ultimate goal of eliminating corruption Meanwhile, the ministry said that the reforms put in place was yielding results as the NIS has produced 1.5 million passports till date this year.
“Indeed, this reform is yielding results. So far this year, over 1.5 million passports have been produced for Nigerians dwarfing all previous yearly productions.
“We urge Nigerians to support the passport reform programme by applying well in time, avoid using middle men, apply yourself online and discourage corruption.”
According to the minister, the passport reform has recorded several bold and successful initiatives including: the elimination of cash payment for any passport service at all Passport Centres, the introduction of a digital Appointment Management System (AMS) allowing Nigerians book biometric capture appointments in advance and the introduction of standardised timelines for passport collection (three weeks for Re-issue , six weeks for fresh application) after biometric capture.