FG unveils passport production centre, e-passport in Edo

The Federal Government says a total of three million passports were issued to Nigerians between 2019 and 2022.

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, made this known in Benin City, Edo State, Tuesday, at the launch of the Benin passport production centre and the enhanced electronic passport to improve the passport application process in Edo State.

Aregbesola, who said the number of the passport collected is “unprecedented in the history of Nigeria”, said by December 2022, the Electronic Data Management System would be in place to eliminate the face-to-face interaction with humans.

He further said that the launch of the office in Benin City was due to the high demands of the passports in Edo and Delta States.

“It will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, as difficult as that era, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has issued over three million passports to Nigerians. It is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. This year alone, 750,000 passports have been received by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) as 625,000 have been collected,” Aregbesola said.

The minister, however, cautioned the officers of the service not to exploit the applicants by creating an artificial scarcity of booklets, saying “Anyone that tries to exploit the people will meet stiff resistance and punishments will be melted out on erring officers.”

Read also: Tackling the scarcity of international passport

Governor Godwin Obaseki, on his part, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for acknowledging the huge travelling population in Edo State and allowing the establishment of the passport production centre in Edo State.

Obaseki, while commending the Federal Government for the passport production facility, pledged to build and deliver the Auchi passport office to the Nigeria Immigration Service before the end of the year to ease the process of passport application in the state.

“This action will help ease the application process, including the processing and production of passports in Edo State for the use by our residents as well as our brothers in Delta State.

“The use of the enhanced passport has become the norm today as you don’t see immigration officers but the machines. This is where Nigeria is going with this launch today as this will move Nigeria where it rightly belongs in the comity of nations as it relates to passports and travel.

“We have every reason to believe that with what they have put in place, we would have our passports ready within six weeks. I commend the Nigeria Immigration Service on the integration of the NIN database with the passport production process. It will curb identity fraud that we have today,” Obaseki said.

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