The Federal Government has rolled out and Commissioned a Central Production Centre for the Enhanced E-Passport passport to serve Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers State Commands.
According to the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS), the deployment and commissioning was done by the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola alongside the Acting Comptroller General of NIS, Isa Jere Idris in an event that was witnessed by heads of military, security, paramilitary and response agencies in Rivers State venue for the rollout of the Enhanced E-Passport in a new passport regime.
Also Present is the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Bar. Nyesom Wike who was ably represented by the Deputy Governor, Her Excellency Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, captains of industries, royal father’s and the political class.
Speaking at the event, Aregbesola said there is nowhere in the world where you have to wait and get a passport, only in those days when you use a polaroid camera for passport photographs.
He added that they can snap you and you collect it instantly, but the passport as a travel document must pass through several security checks and validation of documents presented
He further explained that when validated, the issuing authorities can now issue it to bonafide Nigerians.
Aregbesola further qualified the passport as a major document that can confer national citizenship on persons apart from being a travel document.
The rolled out of the Enhanced E-Passport, the Minister said is the latest technology and the best in the world, noting that other nations have electronic passports but not an enhanced passport that has high security features, polycarbonate, water resistant, tamper proof, which makes it unique.
He urged Nigerians to avoid patronising touts both within and outside the Service in an effort to obtain a passport.
Aregbesola noted also that the only person that can override and give a waiver is the Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Isa Jere Idris, in genuine cases that is medically related, emergencies and other state demands that entails fast tracking or urgency.
Such cases, he said, are given priority for the Comptroller General’s approval of a waiver from the 3 weeks for renewal cases and 6 weeks for fresh applications from the day the individual is biometrically captured.
He advised applicants coming for renewal to always take advantage of the six months’ window before the expiration date of their passport.
The Minister further advised applicants to start the process early to avoid undue delay most times caused by human beings and risk of hiked unofficial prices collected by unscrupulous elements and touts in the name of fast tracking and cutting corners, which most times does not yield the expected results.
Similarly, the Acting Comptroller General of NIS has warned applicants against patronising touts and to apply and pay online, as NIS does not collect cash from anyone under whatever guise, warning officers to desist from interfering in the process, rather they should allow seamless process where applicants can apply for passport in the comfort of their homes, offices and at their convenience, a system that the enhanced E-Passport passport process and acquisition permits.
On her part, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State thanked the Minister for this strides and improved services that will go a long way in bringing relief to the people especially in the states concern with Rivers as the Production Centre benefitting immensely.
The Enhanced E-Passport rolled out will cover Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers State Commands among other states of the federation that were already in the process.