FG Unveils Passport Front Office In Auchi
As part of efforts towards providing effective service delivery to Nigerians, the Federal Government has unveiled additional Passport Front Office in Auchi, Edo State.
In the same vein, the Federal Government has promised to launch a home delivery service for passports.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who made this known at launch of the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Front Desk Office in Auchi, Edo State, yesterday. Saturday, said it is the intention of the Federal Government to provide passports for anyone desirous of it within a reasonable time at an affordable price and without any stress.
He explained that the the launch of another Passport Front Desk Office is significant as the Nigerian Passport is proof of existence, especially for those outside the country as the inability to produce it on demand may bring untoward consequences.
“What we are doing here is significant for two main reasons. The first is the right and the necessity of Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora to hold the Nigerian passport.
“Except for those travelling outside the country or intend to, most of those who hold the 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.
and the inability to produce it on demand may bring untoward consequences,”Aregbesola said.
Speaking further, Aregbesola stated that the government wants to provide the passport for anyone desirous of it within a reasonable time, at an affordable price and without any stress whatsoever, adding that the second is the need, flowing from the first, to break out of the regular.
The Interior Minister also promised to conclude negotiations with NIPOST on the usage of its speedy mail service to start delivering passports to Nigerians who opt for such service, adding that ministry is 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 waiting period between application and collection, he said would likely increase due to the recent increase in demand.
“Our current working schedule is that fresh application would take six weeks after biometric data registration and three weeks for renewal. This is reasonable, competitive and in line with the global best practices.
“The challenge however is the waiting period at the point of application and data registration.
All applicants would be put on a queue, depending on the centre of their choice, to determine the registration date.”
Regrettably, Aregbesola said it may take two months in some highly competitive centres, where the turn-in of applications is very high and that the Ministry has no control over this.
Be that as it may, the Minister disclosed that the Federal Government has taken a deliberate decision to open more front desk offices, in to increase the registration centres and reduce the waiting period before biometric data capturing.
“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.
He commending NIS for improving on its services, including issuance of top quality passport booklet, affirming that Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world and the first in Africa to have the enhanced e-passport.
According to him, “The reform introduced to the NIS led to the Automated Passport issuance process which has eliminated touts and racketeers in Passport administration, introduction of E-border Management, MIDAS and the commencement of E-Passport across Passport Control Offices and Diplomatic Missions”.
He advised applicants not to go through third parties but apply on any internet enabled device through the Nigeria Immigration Service portal.
He lamented the prevalence of a few unscrupulous officials subverting the system, cornering applications, inflating prices, extorting from applicants and hiding already produced passports.
He informed that this year alone, he had been to Daura in Katsina State, Alimosho in Lagos, Ilesa in Osun, Zaria in Kaduna and Oyo in Oyo State to commission Passport Front Desk Offices.
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Isah Jere Idris, in his remark said that the choice of Auchi front office is apt, as Edo State ranks fifth amongst states with the highest volume of passport applications locally.
According to him, “In the past 365 days, Edo state has processed 56,291 applications out of the 1.5 million passports produced in Nigeria.
The commissioning of this front office will no doubt go a long way in reducing the traffic in Edo State and other neighbouring States.
The NIS CG restated the necessity for prospective applicants to synchronise the data in their passport application with the information in their National Identification Number.
“May I quickly add that for the enhanced e-passport, it is essential to ensure that prospective passport applicants synchronise the data in their passport application with the information in their NIN (National Identification Number).”