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Minister assures consumers no shortage of Nigerian passports worldwide

Nigerian Passports

*Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister for Interior, has declared the Nigerian Immigration Service will do everything possible to provide the important travel document to Nigerians desirous of it, while urging them to ‘always follow the right channel in the process of acquiring passports through the official online platform

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Urging consumers to always follow the “right channel” in the process of acquiring passports through the official online platform, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior and Chairman, Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board, has declared that with the new passport reform at the Nigeria Immigration Service, shortage of passport booklets is now a thing of the past.

ConsumerConnect reports the Minister mad this assertion Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Abuja, while decorating Alhaji Idris Isa Jere, Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), with the rank of Comptroller-General.

Ogbeni Aregebsola, in a statement however, noted that the CGI would still be referred to as ‘acting’ in consonance with the terms of his appointment, as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, though the NIS would do everything possible to provide the important travel document to Nigerians desirous of it, the Minister urged Nigerians, both home and in the Diaspora, to always follow the right channel in the process of acquiring passports through the official online platform.

He restated that patronising touts and racketeers in acquiring passport would only lead to delay and extortion of prospective applicants.

Aregbesola, therefore, urged Acting CG Alhaji Jere to find a lasting solution to the difficulties Nigerians go through in the issuance of passport.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he disclosed, is concerned about the difficulties which Nigerians in Diaspora especially are faced with in obtaining Nigerian passports.

The statement also said: “Your new rank comes with more responsibilities, as such you must find a lasting solution in the issuance of passport and make the process seamless.

“I say to you that there is no shortage of booklets in the country, we may be having human challenges.

“The truth is that, in terms of supply of booklets we have on ground, there cannot be shortage of booklets.”

Aregbesola noted: “I read lamentations on social media and I want to say nobody can access Nigerian passport without going online, it is not possible for those who go online not to be serviced, although some still partronise touts to access the online process. It is because of the difficulty we have managing ourselves, that is why they go through third parties and have refused to go through it the proper way.”

He as well explained reasons some passport applicants get long appointment dates, as he revealed this is borne out of the volume of applicants in the area.

“Depending on the volume of applicants in your chosen station, your appointment period can be short or long. For example, if you’re in Lagos, Ikoyi passport office has the highest volume of passport seekers in Nigeria.

“It receives almost 50 percent of the entire number of applications in Nigeria. If you pick Ikoyi, you might have three months waiting period to have your data captured and get other enrollment requirements processed, whereas it may not be so in other places,” daid the Minister.

Aregbesola further stated: “I received a message from the President at FEC today (Wednesday), which I want to make public.

“The President is concerned with the report coming from overseas on the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in getting a Nigerian passport. The challenges are there not because of the lack of concern.

“Second, international visitors to Nigeria and even Nigerians who have the fortune of being born outside the country and therefore need to have a Nigerian passport before they can come into the country because they couldn’t get and want to come home through the visa on arrival platform find it difficult to process this effectively and seamlessly.

“We can’t afford to have these challenges with our people in the Diaspora.”

The Minister therefore charged the Acting CG to hit the ground running and solve these problems.

Dignitaries present at the event were Hajiya Aisha Rufai, Secretary of the Board, and honourable commissioners for the Board, Directors and Staff of the Ministry, friends and well-wishers of the newly decorated Acting CGI.

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