The Federal Government of Nigeria has promised that Nigerians will have their International passports delivered to them at home, offices, and other places of choice by 2024.
BrandNewsDay reports that Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said this on Monday in Lagos while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2023 University of Lagos International Week.
The Minister said Nigerians will soon begin to experience the “sweetness” of the passport application as the ministry has started the automation of the process.
“We have commenced the automation of our end-to-end passport application process, and we have given a timeline from which Nigerians will begin to experience the ‘sweet experience,” he said at the event.
“By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport.
“By January next year, Nigerians will be able to complete this application process online, and by February next year, with collaboration and partnership with other relevant stakeholders, Nigerians will have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, and other locations of their choice.”
“This, of course, would be extended to our visa application process. We are deploying technology throughout the entire process to make it as seamless as possible. To achieve this, we have set everything into motion to open more visa application centres across the world,” the minister added.
“In this regard, we are also working on strengthening our visa-on-arrival policy. We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce the principle of the doctrine of reciprocity, and a committee has been set up in the ministry to achieve this.”
Similarly, the minister said the integrity of travel documents would be restored via data harmonisation.
“Identity is who we are, what we are, and what we live for. But today, what we have is a duplication of our registration,” he said.
“Arguably, Nigeria is the only country I know that has a BVN for the bank, the international passport, the NIN, SIM card registration for telecoms, and so on all of which request your data. The integrity of our travel documents must be restored through the harmonisation of our data.”
Recall that the Minister ordered that Tunji-Ojo has given a marching order to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), demanding the swift clearance of over 200,000 pending international passport backlogs of applications in two weeks.
BrandNewsDay reports that Minister Tunji-Ojo gave the order during a meeting with top government officials, the Acting Comptroller General, Caroline Adepoju, and the Managing Director of Iris Smart Technologies, a third-party company in charge of the production of passport booklets.
The order was in furtherance to his promise to remove bottlenecks in the acquisition of passports and other immigration documents.