FG mandates 48-hour processing time for passports

The Federal Government has ordered the Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that passports are issued to Nigerians within 48 hours after application.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, on Friday, decried the delay Nigerians faced in passport processing and called for an end to the challenge.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 management retreat of the NIS in Lagos, the minister said immigration officers should prioritise service delivery.

Aregbesola said, “We read daily how passports are never available. There have been complaints on how difficult it is to obtain passports in Nigeria. There must be justifiable delay in issuing passports; and when there are delays, there must be mechanisms for communicating with the applicants latest in 72 hours.

“There must be regular engagement with Nigerians on why there is a delay in issuing their passports. Passports must be made available to Nigerians in 48 hours at the official fee.”

The minister also stated that there should be improvement in immigration services at the country’s international airports, adding that an official route for people with special needs should be created rather than jumping the queue during passenger handling.

“We must do something to make Nigerians feel at home and proud that they are in their country. We see how citizens of other countries are treated at their airports. Nigerians also deserve to be proud and spend less time in queue when they get to their country,” he said.

On land borders, the minister urged immigration officers to improve their expertise in ensuring security.

He explained that unwanted and criminal persons must not be allowed into the country through the borders.

Aregbesola said immigration officers needed to improve on helping the Federal Government to boost the ease of doing business in the country.

The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, said the retreat was organised to aid brainstorming on challenges facing the NIS.

“This retreat is another opportunity to critically examine the journey so far with a view to delivering a robust compass that will guide our activities in the years ahead,” he said.

According to him, the NIS will continue to make notable efforts at improving the quality of its workplace environment and the services it renders.

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