There’s No Shortage Of Passport Booklets – Ministry Of Interior

There’s No Shortage Of Passport Booklets – Ministry Of Interior

By Doyin Ajayi | Sub-Editor on August 10, 2022
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola public holiday
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday dismissed reports of shortage of booklets as a challenge against adequate and timely issuance of the Nigerian Passport, saying Lagos and Port Harcourt offices of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, alone had combined stock of 40,000 booklets.

Aregbesola, who was in Rivers State for roll out of the Enhanced Electronic Passport and Commissioning of the Passport Production Centre in Port Harcourt, vowed to bring the weight of the law on racketeers, within and outside the NIS creating difficulties for applicants.

The minister said:  “Our biggest Challenge in passport administration is not in ideas or innovation or processing but in humans. We have introduced far-reaching reforms which some unscrupulous elements continue to frustrate and subvert with corrupt acts. These unscrupulous entities are within and outside the Service.

“The menace of touting, inflation of price, delay in processing application and withholding of passports are some of the challenges. We appeal to Nigerians to help eliminate these malpractices.

“There must be zero tolerance for these practices if we want to build a great nation. The Ministry of Interior is therefore bringing all the might of the Federal Government of Nigeria, overt and covert, to fight these Practices.”

He urged the Rivers State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to help identify the racketeers,  even as he debunked rumours of booklet scarcity.

He also confirmed the NIS had sent sufficient booklets to all passport offices nationwide with “Thirty thousand booklets in Lagos, and Ten thousand in Port Harcourt alone.”

He encouraged passport applicants to apply early to avoid the rush that often made them fall prey to those who would promise  ‘’wait and get passport’’ because they were in a hurry.

The minister said there was no wait and get passport anywhere in the world, declaring a waiting period of six weeks for fresh applicants and three for renewal as the timeline to enable the service do due diligence on the information provided by an applicant.

“What we are presenting today is an enhanced version of our Passport, with additional security. It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and Issuance.

“Very few Counties in the world can boast of it as at today. The document is of higher grade, with additional security features. It is polycarbonate, so on that score, we are better than them,” Aregbesola explained.

Raising doubt over the minister’s revelations, social justice advocate and coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, Zik Gbemre, queried:   “How can he convince anyone that there is no booklet shortage, even in the face of the sharp practices created by racketeers?

“Aregbesola says Lagos has 30,000 booklets in stock, 10,000 in Port Harcourt. That would be exhausted within three days if we take a census on those who seek the Nigerian passport afresh and on renewal every day.

‘”People from states receiving less applicants throng Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja for passport. There is sure shortage of booklets.”

Citing their experience at various levels of government since the advent of Nigeria’s latest democratic experiment, an interest group, the Atiku/Okowa Support Organization, has said the joint ticket of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, both presidential and vice presidential candidates of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, presents the best option to rescue the country from its deplorable economic and state of insecurity in 2023.

In a statement issued yesterday after at its inaugural meeting in Effurun, Delta State, the National Coordinator of organisation, Comrade Chidi Udensi, said that both the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the PDP are political veterans and experienced political leaders, who have been tested and trusted, adding that they have the abilities and capabilities to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians from the present problems hanging on their necks brought by the present clueless and unfocused President Muhammadu Buhari – led All Progressive Congress APC Federal Government.

Comrade Udensi explained that the aim and object of the group is specifically to drum and mobilise support to achieve the realisation of the ambitions of Atiku and Okowa in order for the PDP take charge of government come 2023.

According to him, “It is our prayer that come 2023 His Excellencies, Abubakar Atiku and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa will become the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the sole objective of this group. Our aim is to mobilize Nigerians towards the realization of our dream! I know by the special grace of God we are going to succeed in this endeavour, so I am advising everybody to go out and get their Permanent Voters Card PVC in order to be able to elect Atiku and Okowa in 2023.”

Also speaking, Comrade Anthony Ighomrore, the Public Relation Officer said “It is our dream and hope that Nigerians will not make the mistake of 2015 and 2019 when they brought this rudderless government at the Federal level. So, I urge all Nigerians to support Abubakar Atiku and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for a better future for yourself and children.”

Also present at the ceremony were the Deputy National Coordinator, Mr Francis Niama, the Secretary, Mr John Iyarogho, and others.

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