The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said the federal government has plans to launch a home delivery service for passports.
He said the government intended for anyone desirous of having a passport to do so within a reasonable time, and at an affordable price without any stress.
The minister spoke at the opening of the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Front Desk Office in Auchi, Edo State, today, reports Saturday PUNCH.
A statement by his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, quoted the minister as promising to conclude negotiations with the Nigerian Postal Service on the usage of its speedy mail service to start delivering passports to Nigerians.
The statement partly read, “What we are doing here is significant for two main reasons. The first is the right (and even the necessity) of Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora to hold the Nigerian passport. Except for those travelling outside the country or intending to, most of those who hold a passport do so for identification purposes. For some, it is also a thing of pride to be able to brandish the greenback of the passport.
“But for those outside the country, the passport is the proof of their existence. The inability to produce it on demand may bring untoward consequences. The government, therefore wants to provide the passport for anyone desirous of it within a reasonable time, at an affordable price, and without any stress whatsoever. The second is the need, flowing from the first, to break out of the regular.
“We are in the final stage of concluding negotiations with NIPOST to begin using its speed mail service to deliver passports to Nigerians wherever they are in the world after production. ”
Aregbesola stated that Edo State has one of the highest passport applications in Nigeria, adding that the waiting period between application and collection would likely increase due to the recent increase in demand.
He said, “Our current working schedule is that a fresh application would take six weeks after biometric data registration and three weeks for renewal. This is reasonable, competitive, and in line with the global best practices.
“The challenge however is the waiting period at the point of application and data registration.
All applicants will be put in a queue, depending on the centre of their choice, to determine the registration date. Regrettably, it might take two months in some highly competitive centres where the application is very high. We have no control over this.”.
He also urged applicants to plan ahead for their travelling, as travelling requires long-term planning, whether for education, work, leisure, or migration, except for urgent national assignments or medical emergencies.
Speaking earlier, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Isah Jere Idris, said that the choice of Auchi is apt, as Edo State ranks fifth amongst states with the highest volume of passport applications locally.
He said, “In the past 365 days, Edo state has processed 56,291 applications out of the 1.5 million passports produced in Nigeria. The commissioning of this front office will no doubt go a long way in reducing the traffic in Edo State and other neighbouring states”.