The federal government has launched the enhanced e-passport at the Nigerian High Commission in London, United Kingdom, a statement by the Ministry of Interior has said.
The statement was signed by the spokesperson to the minister, Sola Fasure, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The launch was graced by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sarafa Isola; Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isa Jere; senior Nigerian diplomats, members of the diplomatic corps, and Nigerians in diaspora amongst others.
According to the statement, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the developers will improve the passport application process for Nigerians at home and in diaspora.
He noted that it is the responsibility of the Nigerian government to provide the passport without any stress, within a reasonable period.
“What we have come to do here is symbolic of the core mandate of the Ministry of Interior and indeed, the Federal Government of Nigeria – affirmation of citizenship integrity. The Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship. It is therefore our responsibility to provide the passport without any stress, within a reasonable period,” he said.
“As we are all aware, there have been huge challenges to passport administration, from shortage of booklets to touting and an economy of corruption built around it. These challenges have persisted for too long and a lot of people have become cynical while others have taken them as normal and then rolled with it. But I come from a tradition of problem solving in public administration. I do not believe that any problem is insurmountable, so we are going to solve all the problems associated with passport administration and we are already succeeding.”
The minister said the enhanced e-Passport is a great improvement on the biometric passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a strategic step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of fraud associated with obtaining travel documents under the old Machine Readable Passport regime.
“We are aware that technology rules the world and we are keeping abreast of the latest development in the field,” Mr Aregbesola said.
He said the Nigeria Immigration Service has worked for years in close synergy with Iris Smart Technologies Limited to develop and implement passport reforms that are in tandem with international best practices, including extant International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Standards and Regulations.
“In the past two years alone, we have issued 2.7 million passports to Nigerians. We have taken substantial measures to address the issue of shortage of passport booklets. This year, the ministry approved the deployment of over 600,000 booklets, the largest of its kind ever done. That is not all. The Nigeria Immigration Service through MIDAS is now connected to INTERPOL and can upload information to the agency on lost, stolen and invalidated passports in real time,” he said.
The Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isa Jere, said the Service’s readiness to meet the demands for passports in the United Kingdom, stating that his officers are ready to roll out the new passports, going forward, at the official rate published on the NIS website.
“We are ready to serve the public and start rolling out the new enhanced e-passport in the United Kingdom with immediate effect. Our staff are professionals and will deliver excellent service to our citizens. Those who have any complaints whatsoever are advised to use the publicly listed complaints channels to adequately resolve any issues raised,” Mr Jere stated.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...