The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has stated that Nigerians can now be issued international passport in 24 hours.
Speaking at the launching of a new automated fast passport processing centre at the Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) in Abuja yesterday, Aregbesola said it was the vision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) to build such centre in every local government area of Nigeria.
He said the new automated fast passport processing centre is aimed at eradicating the challenges Nigerians face in the administration of international passport in the country.
The minister noted that the MPEC in Abuja, which was established in partnership with IRIS Smart Technology, is to run on premium service delivery to Nigerians who desire to obtain international passport within 24 hours after successful applications.
Aregbesola said during the inauguration of the centre that the establishment of the passport processing centre was in concordance with the Executive Order 1 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, which is designed to aid ease of doing business in Nigeria and in response to the yearning of Nigerians to ease the stress of passport processing and administration in Nigeria.
He noted that the new centre was designed towards eliminating any form of corrupt practices in the issuance of passports and minimise human contact in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocol, adding that it was the vision of the ministry and Immigration Services to build such centre in every local government area to suit the necessity of passport application in the various regions of Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, said the centre, which is run by a private firm, would charge N20,000 for normal applicant willing to collect the booklet in three days or N30,000 for 24-hour service.
He noted that the price for the traditional passport issuance at the Immigration centres remain the same.
Babandede announced that the entire staff members of Amana Passport Office have been posted out for negligence and complexity in passport administration, with many officers being dismissed, de-ranked and others facing disciplinary procedures for corrupt practices and loss of passport booklets.
On the Maitama Centre, Babandede said: “The centre will be non-judgmental, and would have provision for large comfortable VIP lounge, refreshment, queue management system and other necessary facilities to ensure comfort and speedy delivery of quality service.
“This centre will have a dedicated National Identity Number (NIN) registration unit, and would cater for complete passport issuance process from enrolment to production for only fresh and re-issue passport applications.”
Babandede said other categories of passport applications, including change of data, replacement of damaged, lost/stolen passport among others shall continue to be processed at the Service headquarters and other approved passport issuing authorities.