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In just five days, NIS issues 55,000 passports.


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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), which received a directive from Interior Minister Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to keep moving, has cleared 55,000 of the 200,000 international passports that were waiting to be issued to applicants.
This information was disclosed by Tunji-Ojo yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with Minister Betta Edu for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

He promised them that it would only take two weeks for new applicants to acquire their passports once the remaining 145,000 backlogs were cleared.

According to information obtained by The Nation from a source, the largest obstacle to passport issuance is NIS’s inability to link applicants’ National Identity Numbers (NINs) to their booklets.

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) servers have been down for the past month, according to the NIS source, who did not want his name published.

At a meeting with NIS officials on September 7, Tunji-Ojo insisted that, while he was in office, Nigerians at home and abroad wouldn’t experience difficulties or bottlenecks when applying for passport booklets. So, he gave them a deadline of 14 days to distribute the outstanding 200,000 among the owners.

He had said: “Citizens in Nigeria have expressed irritation over delays in the processing and enrollment of passports, which have resulted in considerable delays in getting necessary travel papers.

“Handling about 200,000 backlogs necessitates declaring a national emergency.

As far as I’m concerned, the passport issue is a national emergency; I continue to receive daily letters from Nigerians who are worrying about it.

Dotun Aridegbe, a spokesman for the NIS, told The Nation that service members had been working nonstop to see that the minister’s order was carried out.

Edu announced a federal government plan to provide soft loans to the widows of NIS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), and Federal Fire Service employees who passed away while performing their duties during the meeting.

At the conference, the interior, humanitarian affairs, and poverty alleviation ministries decided to establish a coordinated effort to combat poverty, insecurity,

He was grateful to Edu for expanding the scope of her ministry’s responsibility to include vulnerable ex-servicemen under his ministry’s oversight and inmates of prisons.

Earlier, Tunji-Ojo received praise from the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for tackling his job head-on. She continued by saying that enhanced skill-acquisition programs would begin to benefit inmates of correctional facilities.


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