FG opens passport front office in Auchi, asks applicants to apply on any internet-enabled device

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The Federal Government has launched an additional Passport Front Office in Auchi, Edo State, as part of its effort towards effective service delivery to Nigerians. This is just as applicants were advised to apply on line and promised to launch a home delivery service for passports.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who spoke at the opening of the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Front Desk Office in Auchi, Edo State, on Saturday, 20th May 2023, said that it is the intention of the Government to provide the passport for anyone desirous of it within a reasonable time, at an affordable price and without any stress.

According to him, the launch of another Passport Front Desk Office is significant as the Nigerian Passport is a 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 even the necessity) of Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora to hold the Nigerian passport. Except for those travelling 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 green back 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.

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The second is the need, flowing from the first, to break out of the regular”, he maintained.”

While speaking, the Minister promised to conclude negotiations with NIPOST on the usage of its speedy mail service to start delivering passport to Nigerians who opt for such service.

“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 remarked.

Aregbesola, while stating that Edo State has one of the highest passport applications in Nigeria, revealed that the waiting period between application and collection would likely increase due to the recent increase in demand.

In his words; “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 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 centre of their choice, to determine the registration date. Regrettably, it might take two months in some highly competitive centres where the application is very high. We have no control over this.

He however said that the Federal Government is intentional about opening more front desk offices, in order to increase the registration centres and reduce the waiting period before biometric data capture.

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“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.

Commending the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for improving on their services, which includes the issuance of top quality passport booklet, Aregbesola affirmed that Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world and the first in Africa to have the enhanced e-passport.

Adding that “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.

The Minister of Interior, therefore, advised applicants not to go through third parties but apply on any internet-enabled device through the Nigeria Immigration Service portal. This is as he lamented the prevalence of a few unscrupulous officials subverting the system, cornering applications, inflating prices, extorting from applicants and hiding already produced passports.

“I will therefore plead with applicants not to go through them and other touts hanging around passport offices, soliciting from applicants. The application can be done in your bedroom on your Android phone through the Nigeria Immigration Service portal. You do not need a third party. Those who patronise them are the ones encouraging their nefarious activities and frustrating our efforts at transparency and providing seamless service.”

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He also urged applicants to plan ahead for their travelling, as travelling requires long-term planning, whether for education, work, leisure or migration, except for urgent national assignments or medical emergencies.

Recall that this year alone, the Minister of Interior have been in Daura in Katsina State, Alimosho in Lagos, Ilesa in Osun, Zaria in Kaduna and Oyo in Oyo State to commission Passport Front Desk Offices.

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