No Shortage of Nigerian Passport booklet anywhere in the world – Aregbesola

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The Minister of Interior and Chairman, Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Thursday declared that with the new passport reform ongoing at the Nigeria Immigration Service, booklet shortage is now a thing of the past.
The Minister made the declaration in Abuja, while decorating the acting Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Alhaji Idris Isa Jere, with the rank of Comptroller General, however stating that the CGI will still be referred to as ‘acting’ according to the terms of his appointment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister noted that though the NIS would do everything possible to provide the important travel document to Nigerians desirous of it, he urged Nigerians, both home and in the diaspora, to always follow the right channel in the process of acquiring passport through the official online platform.
He further reiterated that patronising touts and racketeers in acquiring passport would only lead to delay and extortion of prospective applicants.
Aregbesola, charged the Acting CG to find lasting solution to the difficulties Nigerians go through in the issuance of passport, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari was concerned on the difficulties Nigerians in diaspora faced in obtaining Nigerian passport.

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He said, “your new rank comes with more responsibilities, as such you must find a lasting solution in the issuance of passport and make the process seamless.
He said, “I say to you that there is no shortage of booklets in the country, we may be having human challenges. The truth is that, in terms of supply of booklets we have on ground, there cannot be shortage of booklets.
“I read lamentations on social media and I want to say nobody can access Nigerian passport without going online, it is not possible for those who go online not to be serviced, although some still partronise touts to access the online process. It is because of the difficulty we have managing ourselves, that is why they go through third parties and have refused to go through it the proper way.”
Explaining why some applicants get long appointment dates, he said this was as a result of the volume of applicants in the area.

Aregbesola said, “Depending on the volume of applicants in your chosen station, your appointment period can be short or long. For example, if you’re in Lagos, Ikoyi passport office has the highest volume of passport seekers in Nigeria. It receives almost 50 percent of the entire number of applicantions in Nigeria. If you pick Ikoyi, you might have three months waiting period to have your data captured and get other enrollment requirements processed, whereas it may not be so in other places.”
The Minister also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari was unhappy with the cumbersome nature of getting the Nigerian passports abroad as well as applying for Visa on arrival.
Aregbesola said, “I received a message from the president at FEC today which I want to make public. The president is concerned with the report coming from overseas on the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in getting a Nigerian passport. The challenges are there not because of the lack of concern.
“Second, international visitors to Nigeria and even Nigerians who have the fortune of being born outside the country and therefore need to have a Nigerian passport before they can come into the country because they couldn’t get and want to come home through the visa on arrival platform find it difficult to process this effectively and seamlessly. We can’t afford to have this challenges with our people in the Diaspora.”The Minister therefore charged the Acting CG to hit the ground running and solve these problems.

Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, represented by Director, Citizenship and Business, Mrs. Moremi Soyinka-Onijala, commended the Acting Comptroller General for his tenacity and dedication to service, which she said earned him the appointment. She further encouraged him to sustain the tempo he was known with in the discharge of the tasks that will come with the new rank.
Dignitaries present at the event were the Secretary of the Board, Hajiya Aisha Rufa’i and honourable commissioners for the Board, Directors and staff of the Ministry and friends and well wishers of the newly decorated Acting CGI.

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