The Ministry of Interior has announced new measures geared toward swift issuance of new passport and renewal of expired passports involving Nigerians.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced on Saturday, the launch of Temporary Passport (TP), as a replacement of the former Emergency Travel Certificate. He also disclosed that the Ministry has initiated a special Passport Intervention exercise, to mitigate the strains of passport renewal on Nigerians abroad, especially those caught up in lockdowns.
Aregbesola said the Ministry has also approved front offices at the airports, where Nigerians who arrive in the country with expired passports can have their passports renewed immediately.
Nigerian Passport issuance has long been riddled with bottlenecks, with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) always having scarcity of leaflets to blame. Over two weeks ago, the issue brewed out of proportion following overwhelming complaints from Nigerians, prompting the intervention of the Minister of Interior. He then promised to put an end to the crisis.
He said other measures are also being taken to totally mitigate the hassles in passport renewal.
Full statement below:
“Today, I made a presentation on the new protocol for Nigerians in Diaspora for obtaining International Passport, at the Inaugural Quarterly Lecture Series of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM.
“The Ministry of Interior in conjunction with the Nigerian Immigration Services has been at the forefront of evolving measures to mitigate the effect of Covid19 on Nigerians living and doing business abroad. Prominent amongst the measures include:
“a. The recent launch of the Temporary Passport (TP): This replaces the former Emergency Travel Certificate. It is to ease the burden on Nigerians whose passports have expired and need to travel to Nigeria. It is a one way travel document which must be surrendered on arrival.
“b. The Ministry also recently approved a special Passport Intervention exercise: this exercise is targeted at Nigerians citizens residing in the most affected countries Europe where the lockdown due to the raging infection has affected both economic and social activities. This exercise will enable personnel of the NIS meet these Nigerians at their places of residence and get them enrolled for passport by deploying the Mobile enrollment Unit.
“c. It will also interest you to know that the NIS also recently approved the revalidation of all payments for Passports made by Nigerians sequel to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. This is to enable the Service conclude action on all pending Passport applications.
“d. Recently approved for take-off, is the establishment of front offices at some selected international airports in Nigeria. These airports are: The murtala Mohammed International airport Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja,Mallam Aminu Kano International airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International airport, Rivers state. The front office is a new concept which is aimed at helping Nigerians who arrive the country on expired passports to have their passports renewed immediately at these airports.
“It is in this regard that the NIS recently granted a waiver for Nigerians with expired passports desirous of coming to Nigeria to do so without fear of harassment by airlines.
“To ensure effective service delivery to Nigerians, we have recently reviewed the passport issuing process with a view to streamlining the process for better performance while also eliminating the activities of touts who in recent times have portrayed the NIS in bad light.”