The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says starting from June 1, the passport application process will have a six-week timeline to allow for enough time to investigate and validate personal information supplied by the applicants.
Daily Trust had, earlier this month, exclusively reported that getting the Nigerian International Passport was shrouded in corruption, racketeering and irregularities that saw Nigerians paying 100 per cent more than the official fee.
Our checks at the Nigeria Immigration Service passport offices in some states and the Federal Capital Territory had shown that some immigration officers used the shortage of passport booklets to extort applicants.
Addressing reporters in Abuja yesterday after meeting with the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mohammad Babandede, passport officers and the attaches at Nigerian missions abroad, the minister said: “A timeline will be fixed for every application i.e., a collection date. This will be six weeks comparable to what obtains in other countries.
“If there are circumstances that’ll make the date to change, it’ll be communicated to the applicant one week before the collection date,” he said.
The minister said all backlogs of applications would be treated between now and May 31, 2021.
He said express centres were being created to deliver international passport to applicants within two weeks.
He said additional fees would be paid by applicants to enjoy such services.
Aregbesola said a centre had been established in Abuja with ten more to be created in the coming weeks all over the country.
He said the government would deploy hidden cameras, body cameras and secret operatives to all passport offices all over the country to curb corrupt practices by immigration personnel.
This, according to him, is to ensure seamless, transparent, accord human dignity to applicants and fulfil citizenship integrity, in line with the mandate of the Ministry of Interior.