As part of efforts to address the persistent shortage of passport booklets in the country, the Nigeria Immigration Service said its recently inaugurated e-passport production center in Enugu State will produce 30,000 booklets. of improved electronic passport per month.
This, he said, would put an end to the persistent challenge faced by Nigerians to obtain their passports. He noted that the center would first meet the needs of people in the Southeast.
Nigerians have repeatedly bemoaned the recurring shortage of booklets and the delay and exploitation that comes with the issuance of passports across the country. This, according to reports, was compounded by collusion with NIS officials.
The NIS said in a statement on Saturday that with an average daily production capacity of 1,500 brochures, the center would process about 7,500 brochures per week and 30,000 per month. He also quoted Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, who threatened to punish any NIS official and prosecute any candidate who undermined the new reforms.
Speaking at the launch of the enhanced ePassport and the inauguration of the ePassport Production Center on Thursday, the statement quoted the minister as saying it was part of strategic initiatives to end the passport shortage permanently. .
He noted that the Enugu facility was strategic given that the people of the region have a huge volume of economic activities with international connections, which could require them to process their travel documents faster and easier.
The Minister said: “The Home Office appreciates the volume of economic activity in the South East and the growing number of citizens in the region who have a strong international dimension in their businesses and socio-economic activities. They need travel documents. It is our responsibility to provide it to them as soon as possible at a reasonable price and without any hassle.
He added that the centralized passport production center would expedite the processing of all applications registered at neighboring passport issuance centers in the five southeastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu.
He assured passport applicants in the region that the facility would end the problems of delays, clumsiness and shortage of booklets associated with the production line. He further noted that the online application and the higher level passport with 25 additional security features would eliminate vices such as vantage, racketeering and artificial cost increase, among others.
Aregbesola advised applicants to always apply and make online payments for their preferred passport categories and process their application through the official passport portal, adding that the arrangement was not only aimed at saving time and money, but also to speed up the process and the procedure.
He warned NIS staff at passport control offices nationwide to refrain from undermining new measures put in place to institutionalize an efficient passport issuance process in the country. He said any passport applicant who pays money to an NIS staff member for the issuance of a passport will be prosecuted.
He noted that between 2019 and today, the NIS has issued around three million passports to Nigerians, including the 1.3 million issued in 2021 alone. “Additionally, the last time I checked, over 250,000 passports had not been collected by applicants and their owners would likely be among those complaining that they had not yet received their passports,” he said. he declared.
He noted, however, that the processing of some passports had been delayed due to errors in their applications, which he said could have been the result of condescending thugs and other illegal channels.
NIS Acting Comptroller General Isah Idris Jere has assured Nigerians of faster and better service delivery with the introduction of online passport processing and the inauguration of more centralized passport production centers across the country .
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