Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, said it targets an average monthly production of over 30,000 booklets of the enhanced electronic-Passports at its newly commissioned passport production centre in Enugu, Enugu State.
Vanguard learnt that at an average daily production capacity of 1,500 booklets, it is projected that the e-Passport facility in Enugu could process, on average, 7,500 booklets per week and above 30,000 booklets in a month.
Speaking at the recent launch of the enhanced e-Passport and commissioning of the electronic Passport Production Centre, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the moves were part of strategic initiatives to put a permanent end to the lingering challenges faced by Nigerians in obtaining travel passports.
He said the Enugu facility was strategic given the high volume of economic activities in the South-east and the increasing number of citizens from the region whose businesses and socio-economic pursuits are linked internationally and thereby require faster and easier processing of their travel documents.
‘The interior ministry appreciates the volume of economic activities in the South-east and the rising number of citizens from the region who have a strong international dimension to their businesses and socio-economic pursuits. They need travel documents.
“It is our responsibility to provide it for them within the shortest possible time, at a reasonable price and without any hassle,’’ he stated.
Aregbesola added that the centralized Passport Production Centre in Enugu would fast-track the processing of all applications enrolled in the neighbouring passport issuing centres in the entire five South-east states, namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu, which are electronically transmitted to the Enugu facility for production.
He assured passport applicants from the region that, with the commissioned facility, the challenges such as delays, clumsiness and shortage of booklets associated with the production chain have been eliminated.
Aregbesola, therefore, urged applicants to always apply and make payments online for their preferred categories of passport and process their application via the official passport portal at passport.immigration.gov.ng adding that, ‘‘this arrangement is not only to save time and cost but also to speed up the process and procedure.’’
The minister again read the riot act to NIS personnel at the Passport Control Offices nationwide to desist from undermining the new measures put in place to institutionalize efficient passport application in the country, while also warning that any passport applicant that paid money to any staff for the issuance of passport would be prosecuted.
‘‘But it will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, the NIS has issued about 3 million passports to Nigerians. Last year alone, 1.3 million passports were issued. Also, last time I checked, over 250,000 passports remain uncollected by applicants.,” Aregbesola stated.