The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, announced that reforms are in progress to streamline the passport application procedure, with the potential for Nigerians to initiate online applications as soon as December.
During an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Tunji-Ojo expressed that one of the changes being introduced in passport management is aimed at eliminating the disorderly passport application process.
“For me personally, I have said this to service providers; I said it today, I said it yesterday, and I have always told them, ‘You need to make life easy for people. We cannot, as a government, as a service, make things more difficult than they ought to be,’” he said.
“Part of the reforms that we are putting in place now, starting from December, is that even when you want to enrol for your passport, you fill your forms online, you do your payments online, and everything.”
In response to a query about international best practices for passport application and retrieval, as opposed to the Nigerian system, and ways to alleviate Nigerians’ application-related frustrations, the minister explained that, in contrast to overseas passport procedures, only biometric data capture requires an in-person visit. He clarified that all essential information can be submitted through the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) portal.
“You do not need to go to the passport office to have your picture captured. People apply for American visas, people apply for UK visas, people apply all over the world. Your passport with the required specifications as directed by the NIS will be uploaded on the platform.
“You upload your passport online, you upload your supporting documents online, so when you go to the immigration office, you spend just like five minutes just to have your biometric captured; that’s all,” he said.
Tunji-Ojo emphasized that the era of prolonged enrollment processes is a thing of the past and should not be tolerated, stating that Nigerians have the right to expect a seamless procedure.
“The era of people sacrificing a whole day just because they want to go to a passport office for enrollment is over; it is unacceptable. You cannot inconvenience people based on their rights; it is the right of the people to have a seamless experience,” he said.
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