Why we suspended passport applications – NIS

THE Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it has suspended applications for new passports and renewals for two weeks to enable it clear all application backlog, ahead of the commencement of the new passport regime on June 1.

In a statement signed by Deputy Comptroller General Passport and Other Travel Documents A.Y. Yarima, the NIS said the directive, which was given by the Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola, was with effect from Monday, May 17.

“Consequent upon the foregoing, all PCOs (Passport Control Officers) are therefore directed to use this period May 17, 2021, to May 31, 2021, to ensure that all backlogs are produced and handed over to Command Comptrollers for collection by members of the public concerned,” the statement read.

It would be recalled that the Service had announced the suspension of passport application from March 23 to April 23, 2020, due to coronavirus pandemic and restriction on international travels.

Comptroller General of the NIS Muhammed Babandede had said at the time that the Service would take advantage of the one-month suspension to process all pending passports.



    However, Nigerians at home and abroad have continued to express their frustrations at the delays and inconveniences experienced while attempting to get new passports or secure renewals.

    “I have been waiting to get my passport since January 31. No response; nothing,” an applicant Seun Dickson told The ICIR.

    Aregbesola, during a media briefing organised by the NIS on April 22, had said that the government was partnering with the private sector to establish special centres in each local government area to speed up passport processing.

    He had added that every passport application would have a fixed timeline of six weeks for collection. It remains to be seen how these reforms would translate into improved efficiency for Nigerians.

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