The minister of the interior, Bumi Tunji-Ojo, has designated two weeks for the processing of Nigerian passports.
The minister stated at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cleared a backlog of over 204,000 passport applications within the last three weeks.
He apologized to Nigerians that the clearance of the congestion had exceeded the two-week deadline he had set.
“On September 7, we made a promise to sort out the backlogs in two weeks but we made it in three weeks and I sincerely want to apologize to Nigerians for that,” he said.
“The Renewed Hope administration of President Bola Tinubu is one that matches its words with actions.
“The issue of passports must be a fight and not a privilege.
“Visa is a privilege but passport is a right and we are happy that today, we have been able to handle over the rights of Nigerians to them.
“For us, we are assured that if it can work in NIS, it can work anywhere else. Nigeria is undergoing a process.
“We inherited 204,332 enrolments without passports being issued. People that had applied and captured. That was the figure and we gave a marching order because the president was also on our necks to bring solutions and succour to Nigerians.
“We went into strategic meetings with the NIS and with the support of our service providers, we were able to increase printing machines to four in passport offices where we had two. Our service providers gave us the machines at no cost.
“The NIS personnel were doing three shifts, working 24/7 to make sure that we cleared the backlogs and to ensure that never again are we going to have backlogs of passport production.
“We want to ensure that nobody waits for more than two weeks to get their passports.
“As of October 1, we had cleared all the 204,332 backlogs and from the records produced by NIS, the number of passports already collected is 91,981. Outstanding but available is 112,351.”
The minister pleaded with Nigerians to go to the NIS offices to collect their passports, adding that they should not pay but report any officials engaged in racketeering.
“Please, do not give money to anybody. If there is any passport office where you have done your capturing and they do not give you your passports, please lodge your complaints via the following; 0802 375 3414, preferably SMS and Whatsapp. Or email email@example.com.”