Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has so far, produced 625, 000 enhanced electronic passport (E-passport), booklets in the last five months.
The Minister made this known during the opening of an e-passport centre for Delta and Edo states at the Edo State passport headquarters in Benin City.
In a statement, the Minister said the e-passport uses the latest technology in passport administration and issuance, hence one of the best.
He said, “Our enhanced passport is the real deal in passport making. The most important thing is making the enhanced e-Passport available to the good people of Edo and Delta states.
“The enhanced e-Passport comes in various categories, including the 64-page-10-year validity Passport, which is convenient for frequent travellers. It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance.
“This year alone, we have received about 750, 000 applications out of which we have provided 625, 000.”
Aregbesola explained that the remaining passport applications that were not processed was due to a number of reasons including failure of applicants to provide the correct information about themselves and matching their data with NIN.
“We could not contact them because they applied through touts who provided their own addresses or wrong ones altogether. But 625, 000 is a huge and unprecedented figure, in less than half of the year, by any stretch of the imagination,” the Minister stated.
He continued: “Last week, President Buhari expressed concern on report that some Nigerians, especially those abroad, were unable to obtain their Nigerian passports. I share this concern as well.
“I am asking, therefore, that the NIS do everything within its power to make this a thing of the past. Every Nigerian desirous of the travel document should be able to collect it within the stipulated time, without any stress whatsoever.”
Also speaking, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki stated that the state government was ready to partner with the Federal Government and the NIS in delivering on its mandate to Nigerians. He promised to build a deserving passport centre in Auchi for the service.
“Let me reiterate here like I told the Honorable Minister, the state government of Edo will partner with the Federal Government and the NIS in helping them to deliver on their mandates to Nigerians.
“We would build in six months by God’s grace, a passport centre in Auchi for the NIS so that they are able to service our citizens from that side of the state,” Governor Obaseki promised.
Meanwhile, the Acting Controller General, NIS, Idris Jere, has assured Nigerians of the determination of the service to smoothen it service to Nigerians.
“Nigerians can be rest assured of getting a non-judgmental service at this centre in Benin City. Our officers are well trained, and ready to discharge their duty professionally.
“Applicants are advised to ensure their NIN details are exactly the same with their passport application details to avoid a situation, where the applications are unable to be processed due to a mismatch of data.”