February 28, 2024

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo said automation of passport applications is 99% complete and expected to go live next week.

Tunji-Ojo disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday.

He said, “Automation of passport applications is 99 percent done. We’ve done the testing, and we should be going live in the next week or thereabouts.

“That will ensure that all Nigheria need to do in an immigration center—a passport center—is just biometrics, just to take your fingerprints. All other things are going to be in the comfort of your home, including uploading your passport picture and your supporting documents, just like your visa,” he added.

Recall that the minister had vowed that reforms were underway to simplify the passport application process, with the possibility of Nigerians being able to begin submitting online applications as early as December.

Tunji-Ojo had said one of the reforms the ministry was implementing in passport management is to put an end to the “chaotic” passport application process.

His words: “For me personally, I have said this to service providers; I said it today, I said it yesterday, and I have always told them, ‘You need to make life easy for people. We cannot, as a government and as a service, make things more difficult than they ought to be,’” he said.

“Part of the reforms that we are putting in place now, starting from December, is that even when you want to enrol for your passport, you fill your forms online, you do your payments online, and everything.”

The minister assured that the ministry would employ all avenues to reduce Nigerians’ frustration in the application process.

According to him, only a biometric capture needs to be done in person, explaining that all necessary details can be submitted via a Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) portal.

“You do not need to go to the passport office to have your picture captured. People apply for American visas, people apply for UK visas, and people apply all over the world. Your passport with the required specifications as directed by the NIS will be uploaded on the platform.

“You upload your passport online, you upload your supporting documents online, so when you go to the immigration office, you spend just like five minutes just to have your biometric captured; that’s all,” he said.

Tunji-Ojo stressed that the days of drawn-out enrollment procedures are long gone and unacceptable, adding that it is Nigerians’ right to experience a smooth procedure.

“The era of people sacrificing a whole day just because they want to go to a passport office for enrollment is over; it is unacceptable. You cannot inconvenience people based on their rights; it is the right of the people to have a seamless experience,” he said.

Earlier, the Minister announced that 204,322 international passports are now ready for collection out of the backlog of over 300,000 he met upon assumption of office.

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