By Chrystal NK Chukwudebe
WED 02 JUNE, 2021-theGBJournal- The Nigeria Immigration Service is ramping up clearance and production of passport booklets amid pressure and claims of impropriety among officers on issuance of passport booklets within and outside the country.
The government agency said it has cleared and produced so far a total number of 230, 500 passports, and out of this, 43, 350 are yet to be collected. This disclosure follows Ministerial directives to clear backlog of passport applications across Issuing Centre.
The Comptroller General of Immigration Service (CGI) Muhammad Babandede MFR underscored the development in a statement Sunday, saying ‘’the Service has made significant progress in the clearance exercise of backlog of passport applications.’’
The CGI has since directed that details of all passports that are yet to be collected be uploaded on the Immigration website ‘’for the attention of the public.’’
However, the Immigration is concerned that a rush for collection has ensued across the Issuing Centres, and ‘’this is causing some forms of congestion.’’ It warned that the situation will not allow the Service to accommodate new applications especially considering their desire to ensure that people who come to their office comply with the COVID-19 protocols.
Against this backdrop, the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola directed that the issuance of new passport earlier scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 be extended by one week till the June 8, 2021.
The Minister said the period shall be used to attend to applicants for collection, clear all the remaining backlogs as well as improve systems automation for the takeoff of the new passport regime effective June 8, 2021.