Federal government has fixed a maximum of six weeks for the issuance of new passports and a maximum of three weeks for renewal for prospective seekers of the vital national document.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, stated this yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State, during the rollout of the Enhanced e-Passport with Polycarbonate Data Page and other security features.
He said, “Our template stipulates a maximum six weeks for obtaining new passports and maximum three weeks for renewal.”
Aregbesola said the ministry has also digitalised the payments for the Nigerian passports and advised Nigerians to avoid patronising touts and unscrupulous officials when applying for the document.
He said part of the reforms is the migration of passport applications and payments to digital platforms, but regretted that applicants still patronise touts and corrupt officials in the hope to beat the system and get expedited services.
The minister therefore implored applicants to apply for passports and pay online, adding that the ministry has zero tolerance for corruption and subversion of due process.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, Aregbesola said the only engagement with staff of the ministry is the enrolment of your biometrics.
On the new enhanced passport rolled out yesterday, the minister said it was an improved document with high security features.
He said, “The Enhanced e-Passport is a great improvement on the biometric passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a deliberate step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of travel document fraud associated with the old machine-readable passport regime.
“It is the latest technology in passport making anywhere in the world and only a few countries have it. It is the most secure identity document ever produced. We are proud to make it available to Nigerians,” Aregbesola said.
Earlier, the acting comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Isah Jere, reiterated the call by the minister on the citizens to stop patronising touts.
He said, “As you have heard from the minister, we expect that the only time citizens will have contact with our officers is during the biometric capturing. You are to apply and pay online. Soon, we are launching an appointment management system and a tracking system for you to know anywhere you are in the world, the process of your passport application.”