The Nigerian Government has announced plans to deliver passports to Nigerians at their chosen locations, including homes and offices, starting from next year.
Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo shared this information during the opening ceremony of the 2023 University of Lagos International Week held in Lagos. The move aims to streamline and improve the passport application process, making it more convenient and efficient for Nigerians.
The ministry has initiated the automation of the process, which is expected to enhance the overall experience for passport applicants. This development is part of the government’s efforts to modernize administrative processes and provide better services to citizens.
“We have commenced the automation of our end-to-end passport application process, and we have given a timeline from which Nigerians will begin to experience the ‘sweet experience,” he said at the event.
“By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport.
“By January next year, Nigerians will be able to complete this application process online, and by February next year, with collaboration and partnership with other relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice.”
“This, of course, would be extended to our visa application process. We are deploying technology throughout the entire process to make it as seamless as possible. To achieve this, we have set everything into motion to open more visa application centers across the world.
“In this regard, we are also working on strengthening our visa-on-arrival policy. We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce the principle of the doctrine of reciprocity, and a committee has been set up in the ministry to achieve this,” the minister added.
Tunji-Ojo also spoke about the government’s efforts to harmonize data to foster efficient immigration services. He said the integrity of travel documents would be restored via data harmonization.
“Identity is who we are, what we are, and what we live for. But today, what we have is a duplication of our registration,” he said.
“Arguably, Nigeria is the only country I know that has a BVN for the bank, the international passport, the NIN, SIM card registration for telecos, and so on all of which request your data. The integrity of our travel documents must be restored through the harmonization of our data.”
This announcement follows other steps taken so far by the Tunji-Ojo to sanitize the operation of the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Last week, the minister said as of October 1, all 204,332 passport backlog had been cleared, following the ultimatum he issued to the NIS upon assuming office. Tunji-Ojo who outlined the innovative measures the government is taking to achieve its aim, also directed the NIS to deliver passport applications in two weeks, making the once rigorous process seamless.
“Hopefully by December, people will not need to go to passport offices to snap or take pictures. This is 2023. People will be able to upload their passports photographs online with specifications,” the minister said.
“When you apply for a visa, you do that and we are advancing in that line. Also, your supporting documents should be uploaded online so that when you go to the passport office, but will just be for biometrics and within five minutes you have left there. We don’t want the past situation whereby people spend the whole day at the passport offices. So instead of the offices capturing maybe 400 a day, they will be able to accommodate more people.
“These are some of the innovations we are bringing. Even though we know what the exchange rate is, we are not increasing passport fees. The government of President Tinubu understands the needs of the people. As a person, I do not want anybody to go and stay in a passport office for more than 10 minutes”.