Minister Explains Why FG Introduced New Conditions for Passport Acquisition, Renewal

Chinedu Eze

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has explained the rationale behind the Federal Government’s introduction of new prerequisites for obtaining or renewing international passports.

In an exclusive telephone chat with THISDAY yesterday, he emphasized that the new conditions were instituted to curb the acquisition of Nigerian passports by non-citizens, underscoring the document’s significance as a security document exclusive to Nigerian citizens.

Addressing reports of foreigners exploiting inefficiencies in the previous system, Tunji-Ojo asserted that the new conditions would impede non-Nigerians from acquiring the passport.

While acknowledging challenges faced by passport applicants, the Minister assured that the coming weeks would witness an enhancement of the process.

According to the Minister, the new conditions, including the provision of a citizenship certificate, date of birth certificate and the National Identification Number (NIN), have become critical in verifying applicant’s true citizenship.

Tunji-Ojo emphasized that the reform aimed to simplify the passport acquisition process for Nigerians through facilitating speedy online application, production, and passport collection.

In debunking misconceptions, Tunji-Ojo noted that the new system’s effectiveness was evident, with a mere 4% hiccup rate, a notable improvement for a recently introduced system.  “We have to introduce this new system in order to stop those non-Nigerians carrying Nigerian passports. Contrary to reports, the new process is working very effectively and hiccups recorded is only 4 per cent, which is significant improvement for a system that is newly introduced and I assure you that in the next one or two weeks we will have near perfect system.

“We have to improve our process of obtaining passports because passport is a security document. This new system has improved accessibility, transparency and efficiency,” the Minister stated.

Looking ahead, the Minister outlined plans for contactless biometrics in passport renewal, affirming the government’s commitment to building a better future for Nigerians -home and in the diaspora.

Speaking on the observable change in cost for the 5-year passport, the Minister, however, noted that the new cost was agreed to taking a cue from the cost of the 10-year passport.

“We are building a future for Nigerians where things should be done in a better way. We changed the price of five-year passport because the 10-year passport is N70, 000; so, the one for five years should be half of that amount, which is N35. 000. We are committed to making things better in our country,” the Minister said.

Related Articles