Immigration: Passport booklets now available for collection after scarcity crisis

Author:
Wasilat Azeez

Muhammad Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), says passport booklets are now available in its centres across the country and overseas.

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Babandede was speaking at the commissioning of the Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) in Abuja.

The immigration boss apologised to Nigerians for the difficulty encountered during the passport application process.

He said measures have been put in place to clear the backlog and restore passports issuance.

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There have been reports of Nigerians lamenting their inability to get their passports from the NIS due to a scarcity of passport booklets in the country.

“We acknowledge and apologize for the challenges faced in the past few weeks regarding passport booklets availability, ” he said.

“I am glad to inform you that booklets are now available and are being distributed to all our passport issuing centres.

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“We are aware of huge backlogs of passports especially in our missions largely due to the inability of Nigerians to access the missions and be captured.

“We witness a huge gap between payment, enrollment and issuance especially in places like London, where there are over 20, 000 applicants who paid and are yet to be captured.

“A special team will be dispatched to facilitate enrollment and production in all the affect passports offices in Nigeria and abroad.”

“With the closure of some missions due to COVID-19 compliant policy of some countries, Nigerians in such countries where missions are closed and are holding expired passports can board aircraft after applying to the CGI for approval and clearance received they can proceed to the airport for their onward journey o Nigeria.”

Babandede explained that Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, has approved the opening of passport offices at Kano, Abuja and Lagos airports to attend to Nigerians who have boarded aircraft with an expired passport before entry into the country.

He assured that the newly established centre in Abuja, dubbed the ‘premium passport processing centre’ will cater to Nigerians seeking to obtain their passports within a maximum of 72 hours.

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