Federal Government Issues 2.7 Million Passports in Two Years
The Federal Government said it issued 2.7 million passports in two years, adding that the challenges faced by Nigerians in the application and collection of passports will soon be a thing of the past.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola stated this at the State House Press Briefing on Thursday, according to a statement released by his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure.
The minister said, “It is important to inform you that we have witnessed growing demand for the Nigerian passport both locally and by Nigerians in diaspora. A total of 2,742,207 passports of different categories were issued between 2019 to date.
“The year-on-year increasing growth rate is however putting a lot of pressure on the current processing structure and resources and further justifies the need for a reform in the passport application and processing system in line with the current reality.”
“The Ministry is aware of the challenges faced by applicants for processing and reissue of passports. I want to use this unique opportunity to assure Nigerians that the current experience will soon be a thing of the past. New production and capture centres will be opened in the next few weeks to ease access by Nigerians all over the world.
“I am pleased to inform Nigerians that the Ministry has taken substantial measures to address the issue of shortages of the e-passport booklets. This year alone, the ministry approved a special deployment of over 600,000 passport booklets, the largest of its kind ever done, to cushion the effects of shortages being experienced,” the Minister stated.
While speaking on corruption, the Minister highlighted the recent sting operation carried out by the Ag. Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS), DCG Isa Jere, at the Ikoyi passport office. He also noted that many reforms such as a new appointment management system, amongst others are taking place to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in the country.
The Minister stated that, “You may wish to recall the recent sting operation carried out by the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration. This is in line with the initiatives we have adopted to clean up the system of bad eggs.
“To limit human interference and corruption, we are streamlining the whole passport application and production processes to increase efficiency.
“In the coming days, a new and digital appointment management system will be launched to optimize the passport application experience for Nigerians, limit physical visits to passport offices and check the inconveniences that Nigerians suffer in booking appointments for biometric data capture.”
According to the statement, While speaking on escaped inmates from the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, the FG assured Nigerians “that fleeing inmates have nowhere to hide as those still on the run cannot fully reintegrate into the society as all their biometric data have been captured and all other critical information needed to exist as a full citizen has been digitally secured.”
“I will like to inform Nigerians that we have captured the biometric information of all inmates in the facilities of NCoS working in partnership with the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
“Therefore, we have the capacity and are tracking all escapees from our facilities. In addition, we are working with and have shared the details of escapees with INTERPOL, to check the risks of cross border movements.
“There are various ongoing reformation and education programmes for inmates in our custodial facilities. The Service, in partnership with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), has increased the number of Study Centres to 10 across Correctional formations (Abeokuta, Anambra, Enugu, Kaduna, Keffi, Kuje, Lafia, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Umuahia).
“There are currently about 465 inmates running various Degree programmes, 85 of the inmates are running Post- Graduate Degree programs, while four are running PhD programmes within the custodial facilities.
“A total of 560 inmates have been enrolled for WAEC/NECO Examinations and 2,300 for Adult Literacy Classes in several Custodial Centres. Additional Borstal Training Institutions for young offenders, male and female, are to be established in each State of the Federation.
“Between 2019 and October 2021, over 87,000 expatriate quotas were granted, 951 business permits were granted and 598 licenses were issued to public places of worship for the conduct of statutory marriages.
“In addition, 174,000 understudy jobs have been created through the expatriate quota administration system. We recently inaugurated a Ministerial Task Force on the Monitoring of Expatriate Quota. The primary objective is to audit, monitor and enforce the conditions for the approval of expatriate quota and foreign business permit. Nigerians may wish to note that one of the conditions for the approval of Expatriate Quota is that for every expatriate position, the company must employ two Nigerians to understudy the expatriate,” the minister added.
Those who attended the event were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaibu Belgore; Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, FFS, CG Ibrahim Liman; Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, CG Abubakar Audi; Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, CG Haliru Nababa; Ag. Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, DCG Isa Jere; all directors from the ministry and other aides of the Minister.