By Glam & Essence
The era of difficulty to renew or get an international passport in Nigeria is about to end,so says the Acting Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Isa Idris.
While having a virtual session with the media,he said that the difficulties being experienced by some in either renewing their international passports or securing new ones will be resolved as measures have been put in place to ensure their availability.
According to him, the introduction of enhanced e-passports was part of the measures put in place for clearings backlog and curbing scarcity .
He said that the challenge of delayed passports production was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying global lockdowns, including difficulty in accessing foreign exchange.
“Just on Friday, we received a total of 45,000 booklets towards clearing the backlogs and in December alone, we received more than 100,000 booklets which we have continued to distribute across the passport centres nationwide.
This is not just for Nigerians in Nigeria alone but for those in the Diaspora as well and with the introduction of the enhanced e-passport, we are good to go in our efforts towards addressing the scarcity.”
‘’This enhanced e-passport is a great improvement on the biometric passport technology which we adopted as a country in 2007.
“It is a strategic step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of fraud associated with obtaining travel documents under the old Machine Readable Passport regime,’’ he said.
Technology has equally helped to address some of the challenges,he stressed,including corruption and NIS has continued to stop personal contacts with our officials.
Idris also said more booklets would be received soon towards clearing the backlogs.
He,however,appealed to Nigerians to understand the service and stop engaging in last-minute application rush, saying applicants for renewal can apply for it six months to the expiration of their passports.
According to him, there is no where in the world where passports are issued in 24 hours,except in emergency situation.So the NIS is working hard to ensure full compliance with the three-week duration for renewal and six-week waiting period for fresh applications,so as to validate the addresses provided by the applicants.
Idris said one of the main issue of the NIS is poor funding,a reason why majority of the workers are not motivated,so end up engaging in corrupt practices.
He announced that there are dedicated channels for complaints about the officers’ conducts and the services of the organisation.
The NIS is committed to improving the welfare of his officers for improved productivity and efficiency”,he explained.