To end the incessant complain of ‘no booklet’ at passport offices across the country, the House of Representatives has asked the Ministry of Interior to review existing agreements with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and IRIS Smart Technologies Ltd for the production of passport booklets.
The Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) was asked to expedite the distribution of international passports to those who have paid. The agency was given 72 hours to distribute passports to Nigerians who have registered and paid.
These resolutions followed a motion moved by Ugonna Ozurigbo (APC, Imo), on Thursday during plenary.
In his motion, Mr Ozurigbo decried the incessant scarcity of booklets at passport offices across the country and embassies across the world.
He noted that the issuance of a passport that ordinarily ought to take 48hours is causing untold hardship on Nigerians.
“Nigerians who have applied for international passports and fulfilled all the requirements are constrained to wait endlessly for their international passports.”
Theawmaker explained that the current situation is making life difficult for Nigerians seeking medical attention abroad.
According to him, “International passport is one of the rights enjoyed by citizens all over the world. And in other countries, international passports are obtained with ease as they are issued immediately upon application and therefore Nigerians should not be made to suffer before their rights are given to them.”
Consequently, the House mandated its Committees on Interior and Foreign Affairs to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
This motion is coming in the wake of the new policy on passport issuance and renewal announced by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, that issuance of a passport will now take six-weeks.
Also, the NIS has announced the establishment of special centres for expedited services for an extra cost.
Despite all these, Nigerians on social media continue to complain of extortion by Immigration officers and ‘touts’ at passport offices.
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