Speaking at Ibadan during the rollout of the enhanced e-passport and inauguration of Ibadan Passport Production Centre, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola advised Nigerians not to patronize touts and unscrupulous officials when applying for passports.
According to him, patronizing touts and unscrupulous passport officials did not always end well but would rather defeat the purpose of eliminating corruption and infusing integrity to the passport administration process.
The minister stated that the payment for Nigerian Passports had been digitalized but noted with regret that applicants still patronize touts and unscrupulous officials to beat the system and get expedited services.
He therefore implored applicants to stop patronizing touts, and instead follow the process put in place by applying for passports and pay online.
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“The only engagement with our staff is the enrolment of your biometrics,” he said. Aregbesola said that the timeline for the process of passport application for fresh applicant was six weeks maximum and three weeks maximum for renewal.
“We work within this schedule to enable us investigate any claims made by applicants and verify them for the final document.
“If there are challenges, eventually you will get your passport before your due date of travel, if you apply early enough.
“Nowhere in the world is passport administration done on wait-and-get basis except in extreme emergencies. The only wait-and-get passport is passport photograph,” he said.
The minister noted that the new enhanced e-passport being rolled out was an improved document with high security features.
“It is the latest technology in passport making anywhere in the world and only few countries have it.
“It is the most secure identity document ever produced. We are proud to make it available to Nigerians,” Aregbesola said.
Speaking during the inauguration, the Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr Isah Jere, said the enhanced e-passport had two categories of 32 pages with five years validity and 64 pages with 10 years validity.
The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Segun Ogunwuyi lauded the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service and pledged the cooperation of his administration to the service.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Olubadan of Ibadan represented by Ekefa Balogun, Chief Sarafadeen Ali and heads of all paramilitary services in the state, amongst others, attended the inauguration.