Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior

Issuance of Nigerian passports within 6 weeks begins June 1 ─Minister

*Beginning June 1, 2021, passports will be issued within six weeks… whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonifade citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect, says Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister for Interior

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Determined to issue the Nigerian passports to applicants within six weeks after several months of delays, the Federal Government has said the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is working to ensure that all pending passport applications are processed by May 31, 2021.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior, announced the development Saturday, May 8 during a virtual inaugural quarterly lecture series of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) titled, ‘Mobilising Nigerians in the Diaspora for National Development’.

Aregbesola stated that beginning June 1, Nigerian passports will be issued to applicants within six weeks.

The Minister said the delays in the country’s passport issuance over the past months resulted from the outbreak of the damaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

ConsumerConnect gathered he as well noted the government had launched an electronic temporary passport to relieve Nigerians of the burden.

Aregbesola said: “The Nigeria Immigration Service also had their fair share of the pandemic which affected passport issuance.

“We have launched an electronic temporary passport to ease the burden of Nigerians.

“By May 31, all outstanding passport applications will be cleared.”

The Minister further stated: “We are also looking at domesticating passport printing to avoid a shortage of booklets for renewal and new passport collection.

“Also, from June 1, the collection of passports will take six weeks and this will allow us to carry out due diligence.”

Recall Aregbesola earlier had assured of his commitment to clearing the backlog of passport applications and issuance latest May 31.

He restated this when he received Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, and the Management Staff of the Commission while on a visit to his office last month in Abuja, FCT.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa during the latter’s visit to the Minister in Abuja, FCT  Photo: NiDCOM

The Minister also emphasised that the Nigerian Passport is the strongest instrument of Sovereignty, Nationality and Citizenship.

He noted that the Ministry of Interior has introduced sweeping reforms as it concerns passport application and issuance.

A regime of not more than 72 Hours Express Passport Processing is underway, he said, adding, “whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonifade citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect.”

On Managed Migration, the Interior Minister promised to work with strategic agencies to see that Migration is profitable to the migrant and to the country of stay and homeland.

Gabriel Odu of Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of NiDCOM in a statement April 23, 2021, had said the Minister also commended NiDCOM for its giant strides so far.

The statement noted Aregbesola described the Commission as “a veritable tool for strong and worthy engagement with the Nigerian Diaspora.”

Hon. Dabiri-Erewa also applauded the Minister’s effort at making the passport application and issuance seamless as well as the 10-year validity period as first of its kind in the country.

The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO said:  “This is cheering news for Nigerians in the Diaspora as they need not bother to renew their passport for ten years “

While informing the minister of the setting up of Diaspora focal offices in 33 states of the Federation, Dabiri-Erewa sought the participation of the Ministry in some programmes and engagements with Nigerians in the Diaspora.

According to her, these include the National Diaspora Day Celebrations, Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit and Quarterly Diaspora Lecture Series, among others.

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