By Naomi Sharang
Mrs Georgina Ehuriah, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, has debunked claims from some quarters that there was delay in the issuance of the e-passport to applicants across the country.
She said this at the decoration ceremony of four senior officers promoted to the rank of Deputy Comptrollers-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), held in Abuja on Friday.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was a perception in some quarters that only high profile Nigerians are able to get the passport booklet easier and faster whereas ordinary Nigerians experience delay.
However, Ehuriah said that there was no reason issuance of passport would be delayed when applicants provided all the necessary data for capturing in the process of issuance.
“There is no way passport issuance will be delayed when all the conditions have been met by the applicants.
“Remember that this is a legal document so one must meet the requirements first.
“Sometimes individuals come with information that need to be investigated and if that is being done, it is wrong to say that issuance of the passport is being delayed.”
The permanent secretary further explained that the NIS was technologically-driven and as such any form of delay was ruled out.
“I can assure you that the service is the same the world over because all these things are issued using ICT resources.
“So there is no manual method of processing passport and this we have achieved through massive investment by government in technology and capacity building.
“We assure Nigerians that they will continue to see more improvements and reduction in time in delivering our services.
“Nigeria Immigration Service is not resting on its oars; it is improving in its technology and the NIS is increasing the number of officers in its employ.”
Ehuriah, however, cautioned the newly promoted officers that as individuals and as officers in the service, they must go beyond call of duty to serve Nigerians effectively.
“I must charge you to quickly amend any service failure whenever it occurs,” she said.
The Comptroller-General, NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, said that the service had rolled out over 20,000 of the new 10-year validity enhanced passport booklet in two stations including the headquarters, Abuja and Ikoyi in Lagos.
“The next will be Kano then followed by London. We will continue to issue in all commands and formations.
“Gradually it will replace the old one but the old one will continue to work concurrently with the new passport,” Babandede said.
He urged the newly promoted senior officers to contribute innovative and dynamic ideas toward achieving the needed impact in ensuring that the statutory mandates of the service were realised.
NAN reports that the NIS had on April 29, commenced issuance of the e-passport booklet, which was part of a comprehensive reform, approved by the Federal Government in January.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Jan. 16, officially launched the new e-passport.
The 64-page 10-year standard passport costs N70, 000, while the 32-page five-year standard passport costs N25,000. The 64-page five-year standard passport goes for N35,000, while the 32-page five-year official passport costs N15,000.
“The new passport has enormous advantages which include 10-year validity, self-tracking application and express centres, for urgent applications.”(NAN)