The federal government says the passport application processing time by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) will currently take six weeks.
Rauf Aregebesola, minister of interior, stated this is to ensure a smooth, clear operation, as well as”accord individual dignity to applicants and fulfil citizenship integrity in line with the mandate of this ministry”.
According to a statement by Towoju Raphael, senior information officer at the ministry of interior, Aregbesola stated it is now imperative to review the ministry’s operations and rejig its system so as to offer excellent services to customers.
“A timeline will be fixed for every application i.e., a collection date. This is six months, comparable to that which obtains in other nations,” Aregbesola said.
“This is to permit enough time to investigate and validate personal information supplied by the applicants.
“What we are driving at is your reassurance that comes from the assurance of certainty. Whether there are conditions that will produce the date change, it will be communicated to the applicant one week prior to the collection date.
“Applicants will have no basis for further communicating with officers, other than to complete their application process and leave the venue. The date for the group of the passports or any challenge to the application will be conveyed to them. The technology for the efficient functioning of the system has been obtained and will be deployed.”
The minister added that the NIS will publish a listing of the backlog of programs that are ready, which have yet to be gathered by the owners.
“They will be required to visit the state orders to collect them,” he added.
Aregbesola also said efforts are on to embed security operatives both”seen and unseen” in all passport offices.
“We’ve had several challenges in the past, including lack of booklets, touting, racketeering, inflating the price tag, passports being issued to ineligible persons, amongst others,” he explained.
“They’ll wear body. Those caught will be managed according to this law.”
The minister stated an ombudsman will also be made for members of the public to receive reports and complaints on officers trying to deviate from prescribed guidelines and subversion of this process.
“Therefore, I’m announcing a zero-tolerance stance to all forms of touting. No candidate is going to be made to pay any illegitimate fees,” he explained.
In March, the national authorities had unveiled the state passport processing centre of the NIS.
The centre, dubbed the”premium passport processing centre”, is expected to appeal to Nigerians seeking to receive their passports within no more than 72 hours.