Government to activate local production of 10-year validity enhanced Nigerian passports

*The Nigeria Immigration Service has said despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the organisation is taking advantage of the pandemic to improve on services delivery and efficiency

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has said it is currently working on domestication of production of passport booklets in the country in order to address the challenges of its non-availability to needy Nigerians.

Mr. Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), who disclosed this at a media briefing Wednesday, March 31 in Abuja, FCT, also said the Service would soon start the issuance of its enhanced 10-year validity passports in London and Atlanta, United States (US).

The NIS Controller-General stated that the new enhanced passport would solve a lot of issues related to passport renewal by especially Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Babandede said: “One of the challenges facing the agency is none availability of passport booklets, and efforts are ongoing to address the problems.”

The NIS is working at deploying more machines and personnel to Nigerian foreign missions to clear the backlogs of passports for those who had registered, noted he.

The Controller-General further explained that “the new enhanced passport is intended to solve many problems especially the number of times Nigerians need to come and renew their passports.

“The idea is to also link the identity of Nigerians to their National Identification Numbers (NINs), which means we are reducing identity theft in the country.”

In terms of improving service delivery in the economy, Babandede said while the NIS was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, it was taking advantage of the pandemic to improve on its services delivery and efficiency.

According to him, the NIS has developed a Web site for such Nigerians who would want to return to apply and get clearance to board flight with their expired passports and on arrival in Nigeria get a new one.

“With the closure of admissions due to COVID-19 policy in some countries, a lot of Nigerians are now holding expired passports.

“Nigerians in such countries can now board an aircraft after applying to the C-G for approval and clearance received, can proceed to the airport for their onward journey to Nigeria,” he disclosed.

The NIS Chief noted: “The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has graciously approved it for the purpose of mitigating the problem with the opening of three front offices at our International Airports.

“The airports are Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Aminu International Airport, Kano, and Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos. This is to attend to passport needs of Nigerians on arrival before entering into the country.”

Babandede, nonetheless, denied reports that the Service was producing passport booklets in Malaysia, saying, “the production was contracted to IRIS SmRt Technology Limited, a company 100 percent owned by Nigerians.”

He added that the Minister of Interior, Minister of Justice, and Service were working on domestication of production of passport booklets in Nigeria to address the challenges of its non-availability.

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