Over 26, 031 already processed international passports are in the Lagos office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) unclaimed.
Assistant Comptroller General of the Zone, Mrs. Talabi in Lagos affirmed that as of today, there is no shortage of passport booklets in the Zone admitting the infusion of over 20, 000 passport booklets into the system while asking Nigerians to take advantage of the different kinds of passport booklets available that suits their pockets as not all are N70,000.
Talabi who visited the Passport Office in Ikoyi to do an on the spot assessment of the situation on ground revealed to newsmen that she found 16, 211 processed but uncollected passport booklets at the Ikoyi Passport Office; 8,320 at the Alausa Passport Office while Festac Passport Office had 1, 500 unclaimed passport booklets.
She explained to prospective passport applicants to be patient and understand the process of producing a passport stressing that there was nowhere world over that application and collection of passports can be done in one day stressing that in Nigeria, the timeline is three (3) weeks for renewal while for fresh application of passports it takes six (6) weeks to accomplish.
” We implore prospects for their patience as there is nowhere in the world you apply for and get passports on the same day.”
On backlogs and passport booklet costs, she said the Immigration Headquarters have deployed a taskforce at the directive of Acting Comptroller General of the Service Idris Jere to clear the backlog of ready applications and also stressed that Nigerians be aware that there are different kinds of passports issued by the service.
According to her there are standard passports documents with 32 pages valid for five years at N25, 000 while a 64-page standard Passport valid for five years is N35,000. She also said a 64 page passport valid for 10 years goes for N70,000 stressing that there are booklets of different prices,pagination and validity so Nigerians can stop assuming all passports are N70, 000.
On the challenges especially with NIN, Talabi said,” Already there is a column where you have to input the applicant’s NIN without it the procedure will not be possible. How did we get here? People were always trying to beat the security features of the passport and so NIN was introduced as an additional security measure, to make it more difficult for fraudsters and those try to disrupt the process.
“I want to seriously highlight that some applicants’ NIN do not drop and so Immigration cannot proceed in processing their documents, then they go to town saying the NIS has delayed their passports, but if you don’t have NIN there is nothing we can do…Passports aren’t delayed because of administrative incompetence ,it may be because NIN has not dropped. The issue of NIN has to be addressed,” she said.