The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has hinted that it shouldn’t take more than 2 weeks to clear all passport backlogs, adding that there is no excuse for passport delay in Nigeria.
This was made known by Tunji-Ojo while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Tuesday night, September 5, 2023.
Tunji-Ojo insisted that clearing all backlogs shouldn’t take more than 2 weeks, noting that the scarcity and delay around fresh passport issuance and renewal fuelled corruption in the sector.
He said, “After clearing these backlogs, no Nigerian should wait for more than two weeks.’’
Passport is a right, not privilege
The minister said owning the green passport is a right of every Nigerian and not a privilege.
- He said, “It’s a right and not a privilege, Nigerians want that right to be actually theirs, not by somebody offering you your right.”
According to him, it is not excusable for any Nigerian to be treated with disrespect because of passport application.
Digitization, decentralization of passport issuance
- Tunji-Ojo said, “What Nigerians want to see is solutions and that is what the President has constantly told us… No excuses.
- “In line with the directive of Mr. President, it can no longer be business as usual. We have critically analysed all these scenarios – from the point of going online to fill the form to the point of payment, to the point of picking a date, to the point of biometrics, to the point of issuance of passports. And we understand the service providers involved and we have been able to see one or two things to put right.’’
The minister also said he is in talks with service providers and the Nigeria Immigration Service to digitise and decentralise the process of fresh passport issuance and renewal.
- He said, “We have to digitise and we also have to decentralise the whole enrolment system and make it (possible) for people to walk into the nearest post office, people can walk into maybe financial institutions and some many other ways. We are still playing with so many ideas.’’