NIS: Nigeria producing passport booklets abroad but not in Malaysia
The Nigeria Immigration Service says it will soon start issuing “enhanced” 10 years validity passports in London and Atlanta and ensure that passport booklets are produced locally.
Though denying reports that the service produced passport booklets in Malaysia, the NIS Controller-General, Muhammad Babandede, admitted that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the justice minister, and the NIS were working on producing passport booklets in Nigeria to address the challenges of its non-availability.
According to Mr Babandede, at a briefing with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the production of the country’s passport booklets was contracted to IRIS SmRt Technology Ltd., a company “100 per cent owned by Nigerians.”
Mr Babandede added that the new enhanced passport would solve issues related to passport renewal by Nigerians in diaspora.
He explained that one of the challenges facing the agency was the non-availability of passport booklets, adding that efforts are ongoing to address the problems.
The NIS boss also disclosed that the NIS was working at providing more machines and personnel for Nigeria foriegn missions to clear the backlogs of passports for those who had registered.
“The new enhanced passport is intended to solve many problems especially the number of times Nigerians need to come and renew their passports.
“The idea is to also link the identity of Nigerians to their National Identification Number (NIN), which means we are reducing identity theft in the country,” he said.
He stated that while the service was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was taking advantage of the pandemic to improve its service delivery and efficiency.
He added that the NIS had developed a website for Nigerians who want to return to apply and get clearance to board flight with their expired passports and on arrival in Nigeria get a new one.
Mr Babandede said, “With the closure of admissions due to COVID-19 policy in some countries, a lot of Nigerians are now holding expired passports.
“Nigerians in such countries can now board an aircraft after applying to the C-G for approval and clearance recieved, can proceed to the airport for their onward journey to Nigeria.
“The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has graciously approved it for the purpose of mitigating the problem with the opening of three front offices at our international airports. The airports are Nnamdi azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Aminu International Airport, Kano, and Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos.
“This is to attend to passport needs of Nigerians on arrival before entrying into the country.”