Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, announced plans to open passport front offices in key cities across the United Kingdom—Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales)—within the next three months.
During an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, the minister addressed the challenges faced by Nigerians abroad in renewing their passports at foreign missions.
“I think there are only two places where we have this challenge now, realistically. I think in the UK—precisely, in London—and in the US—precisely, in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians,” Tunji-Ojo said.
Focusing on the UK, amidst numerous recorded viral cases, he said that the sole remedy lay in establishing passport front offices in pivotal cities by February 2024.
“There is no quick fix. But we have ensured Nigerians that by February next year, we will have opened our front offices such that we’ll have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales, and Scotland,” the minister said.
“So, once we have this, definitely, it will reduce the stress of Nigerians, it will reduce the waiting period, and of course, it will bring efficiency into the whole passport procurement system.”
Tunji-Ojo clarified the issue, highlighting that the challenge persisted due to the presence of only one passport office across the entire United Kingdom.
He noted that Nigerians residing in distant cities like Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, Belfast (Northern Ireland), Manchester, or Birmingham had no alternative but to journey to London for their passport renewals.
Noting that there were “hundreds of thousands of Nigerians resident in this country,” the interior minister emphasised the importance of examining the immigration office’s daily capacity and the volume of passport requests received.