The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled an additional Passport Front Office in Auchi, Edo State, as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance service delivery to Nigerian citizens. Furthermore, the government has expressed its commitment to launching a home delivery service for passports.
During the inauguration of the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Front Desk Office in Auchi, Edo State, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, emphasized the government’s objective of providing passports to all individuals in need within a reasonable timeframe, at an affordable cost, and without unnecessary hassles.
According to the Minister, the establishment of another Passport Front Desk Office holds great significance since the Nigerian passport serves as proof of identity, especially for those residing abroad. Failing to produce it upon request may have adverse consequences.
“What we are doing here is significant for two main reasons. The first is the right (and even the necessity) of Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora to hold the Nigerian passport. Except for those traveling outside the country or intending to, most of those who hold a passport do so for identification purposes. For some, it is also a thing of pride to be able to brandish the greenback of the passport. But for those outside the country, the passport is the proof of their existence. The inability to produce it on demand may bring untoward consequences. The government, therefore, wants to provide the passport for anyone desirous of it within a reasonable time, at an affordable price, and without any stress whatsoever. The second is the need, flowing from the first, to break out of the regular,” the Minister explained.
Additionally, Aregbesola assured that negotiations with NIPOST, the Nigerian Postal Service, are in their final stages to utilize their efficient mail service for passport delivery to Nigerians worldwide after production.
“We are in the final stage of concluding negotiations with NIPOST to begin using its speed mail service to deliver passports to Nigerians wherever they are in the world after production,” the Minister stated.
Acknowledging that Edo State receives one of the highest volumes of passport applications in Nigeria, Aregbesola revealed that the waiting period between application and collection is likely to increase due to the recent surge in demand.
He stated, “Our current working schedule is that fresh (passport) application would take six weeks after biometric data registration and three weeks for renewal. This is reasonable, competitive, and in line the global best practices. The challenge however is the waiting period at the point of application and data registration.
All applicants will be put in a queue, depending on the center of their choice, to determine the registration date. Regrettably, it might take two months in some highly competitive centers where the application is very high. We have no control over this.
Nevertheless, the Federal Government is determined to establish more passport front desk offices to increase registration centers and reduce waiting times before biometric data capture.
“It is our projection that by the time we open more front offices like this, the waiting period will not be more than three days. Indeed, the more front offices we have, the less the waiting period. Our long-term plan will be to involve private operators who will provide the lounge for a fee, but the equipment and personnel will be provided by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)”, he added.
Expressing his appreciation for the Nigeria Immigration Service’s (NIS) improved services, including the issuance of high-quality passport booklets, the Minister confirmed that Nigeria ranks among the top five countries globally and first in Africa to possess the enhanced e-passport
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