Head of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has announced the postponement of new passport applications, which was earlier slated to commence on June 1 2020, by one week.
The new date will now be June 8, 2021.
According to a statement on Tuesday by the Service’s Public Relations Officer, Amos Okpu, titled ‘Clearance of backlog of passport applications,’ Babandede was quoted as making the announcement at the NIS headquarters in Abuja during a media chat.
The statement read, “A huge number of applicants are already turning up to collect their passports across issuing centres and this is causing some forms of congestion.
“This situation will not allow the Service to accommodate new applications especially considering our desire to ensure that people who come to our offices comply with all the COVID-19 protocols.
“Consequent upon the above, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has extended the commencement of the new passport regime earlier scheduled for June 1, 2021 by one week till June 8, 2021.
“The period shall be used to attend to applicants for collection, clear all the remaining backlogs as well as improve systems automation for the takeoff of the new passport regime effective 8th June 2021.
“The Comptroller General of Immigration assures all of full commitment to improved service delivery to all passport applicants and others.”
The move was to allow for the clearance of backlog from all local and foreign passport applications received before May 17, 2021.
Babandede also disclosed that a total of 230,500 applications have been cleared and the passports produced.
Out of this, a total number of 43,350 are yet to be collected.
He said, “Passport Control Officers have been directed to continue to send out short message notifications for collection to all applicants who indicated functional contact details/numbers in their applications while efforts have been intensified to clear up the remaining applications in some centres.”
He added that to ensure that applicants are duly notified and encouraged to collect their passports, the NIS will upload the details of all passports that are yet to be collected on its website www.immigration.gov.ng for the attention of the public.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the service is also deploying other media means to notify the public about this development.