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Nigeria reviewing visa on arrival policy as passport applications go digital December

Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Honourable Minister for Interior Photo Collage: Channels TV

*Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Minister for Interior, says the days of ‘drawn-out enrollment procedures’ are long gone and unacceptable, as it is Nigerians’ right to experience a smooth procedure in passport application process in line with what obtains in other developed economies of the world

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Government’s reforms are underway to simplify the passport application process with the possibility of Nigerians beginning to submit online applications as early as December 2023.

Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Honourable Minister for Interior, stated this while speaking on a Channels TV programme Wednesday, October 4, 2023, monitored in Lagos.

Tunji-Ojo disclosed that one of the reforms the Ministry is implementing in passport management is to end the apparent “chaotic” passport application process in Nigeria.

The Minister said: “For me personally, I have said this to Service Providers, ‘You need to make life easy for people. We cannot, as a government, as a service, make things more difficult than they ought to be.’

“Part of the reforms that we are putting in place now, starting from December, is that even when you want to enrol for your passport, you fill your forms online, you do your payments online, and everything.”

He equally spoke on international best practices for passport application and collection, compared to what obtains in Nigeria, and avenues to reduce Nigerian applicants’ frustration in the application process.

In comparison with passport application process overseas, Olatunji-Ojo noted that only a biometric capture needs to be done in person.

He also explained that all necessary details could be submitted via a Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) online portal.

The Minister further stated: “You do not need to go to the passport office to have your picture captured.

“People apply for American visas, people apply for UK visas, people apply all over the world.

“Your passport with the required specifications as directed by the NIS will be uploaded on the platform.

“You upload your passport online, you upload your supporting documents online, so when you go to the immigration office, you spend just like five minutes just to have your biometric captured; that’s all.”

Tunji-Ojo stressed that the days of drawn-out enrollment procedures are long gone and unacceptable.

It is Nigerians’ right to experience a smooth procedure in passport application process, he said.

The Minister also stressed that the “era of people sacrificing a whole day just because they want to go to a passport office for enrollment is over; it is unacceptable.

“You cannot inconvenience people based on their rights; it is the right of the people to have a seamless experience.”

204,322 passports ready for collection: Minister

ConsumerConnect reports Olatunji-Ojo Wednesday, also disclosed that 204,322 passports were ready for collection out of the backlog of over 300,000 he met upon assumption of office as the Minister for Interior.

He announced the development during a press conference in Abuja, FCT.

However, he said only 99,901 had been collected out of the number of processed and produced  passports ready for collection.

Olatunji-Ojo, therefore, urged Nigerians to pick up their uncollected passports.

According to him, the Ministry of Interior is working with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and their vendors to ensure that from 2024, passports are delivered directly to the preferred addresses of Nigerian consumers.

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