Delays: FG Denies Plan To Open Passport Offices In Hotels, Banks
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The Federal Government has denied plans to open passport offices Infront of hotels and banks following complaints of delays associated with passport renewal and issuance processes.
In a statement signed on Monday by the Office of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister stated that his office is working with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) under the able leadership of CG Isah Jere, to reform the passport process by boosting the operations of the existing passport offices across the Nation and in Diaspora to deliver improved passport experience for Nigerians.
According to the statement, “The attention of the Office of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has been drawn to news publications, 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 Nigeria Immigration Service.
“To be clear, the Honourable Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola DID NOT directly or indirectly state that passport front offices will be opened in Hotels or Banks.
“The Ministry is working with the Nigerian Immigration Service under the able leadership of CG Isah Jere, to reform the passport process by boosting the operations of the existing passport offices across the Nation and in Diaspora to deliver improved passport experience for Nigerians with the ultimate goal of eliminating corruption and incentivizing productivity.
“This passport reform has recorded several bold and successful initiatives which include: The elimination of cash payment for any passport service at ALL Passport Centers;
“The introduction of a digital Appointment Management System (AMS) allowing Nigerians book biometric capture appointments in advance; The introduction of standardised timelines for passport collection (3 weeks for Re-issue , 6 weeks for fresh application) after biometric capture.
“Indeed, this reform is yielding results; so far this year, 1.5 million passports have been produced for Nigerians, dwarfing all previous yearly productions. We urge Nigerians to support the passport reform of government by applying well in time and avoid using touts.”