The federal government says there is now more than enough passport booklets to address delay in issuance of passport in the country.
Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, made the disclosure on Tuesday during the commissioning of the enhanced passport production centre on in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital.
According to the minister, the newly commissioned centre will be responsible for the production of passports for residents of Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states.
In January, the federal government had said the delay in passport issuance to Nigerians was as a result of booklet scarcity, adding that the shortage would be over by March 2022.
However, there were reports that there was still scarcity of passport booklets across the country, even after March.
Speaking on the state of affairs regarding the passport booklet shortage, Aregbesola said that was no longer the case.
“Last year alone, we provided 1.3 million passports to Nigerians. As of today, there is no booklet shortage in Nigeria,” the minister said.
“As at the second quarter of this year (in June), the NIS had provided 645,000 passports out of the 750,000 applications received.
“To address backlog challenge, we have sent 11,000 booklets to Ikoyi, 11,000 to Alausa, and 8,000 to FESTAC centres in Lagos.
“We have also sent sufficient booklets to all the centres nationwide. There is therefore no excuse again for delay and non-issuance within a reasonable period.
“We have provided a window of six weeks and three weeks for fresh application and renewal respectively, after biometric data capture, by which, other things being equal, the passport will be ready for collection. This timeline is to enable NIS investigate and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued.
“It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global standard. There is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world. The only wait-and-get passport is passport-sized photograph from Polaroid camera.”
Aregbesola also urged Nigerians to apply for passports directly through the official portal of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
“I, therefore, once again implore applicants to apply directly through the NIS portal and avoid touts and NIS officials, not offer bribes to anyone, or pay more than the stipulated fees,” he said.
“Those patronising touts and corrupt officials are sabotaging our efforts and making sanitisation difficult.”