According to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), around 97,000 passport booklets remain uncollected in the 36 states nationwide , including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mr Tony Akuneme, the Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO) and Comptroller of Immigration, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
According to Akuneme, the service just found that Lagos State had half of the uncollected passports.
He also stated that there was a risk that half of the owners of uncollected passports would be unable to be reached due to a lack of proper documentation as a result of third-party involvement.
He also said that the purpose of declaring a state of emergency was to grab the attention of the media so that they could further the process for the service, since many individuals do not know if their passport was available for collection.
“Some of them hired agents to assist them with their passport processing, which these agents may be doing for lots of persons.”
“They end up dropping incorrect contacts, making it difficult to contact the owners of these passports when they are ready for collection.” “This is a huge challenge,” he said.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Acting Comptroller General, NIS, Mrs Caroline Adepoju, recently declared a state of emergency on passport issues across the country.
According to the SPRO, the service recently discovered that most applicants are bothered by various human and technical issues, including slow internet speeds.
According to him, the CG did not want to leave anyone in question about the importance of passport processing to her.
“That’s how she came up with the term “state of emergency” in the passport issues.
“When the acting CG assumed office, she made it very clear that she was going to focus on Passport reforms and staff welfare,” he added.
According to him, the Lagos State Governor is prepared to work with the CG to expand Passport services in the state.
“So, we went to the Lagos State Governor for assistance in terms of giving us office space where we can set up front desk offices, and the governor immediately responded positively.”
” Lagos is a place to visit, and immigration plays an important role in the minds of anybody visiting the state.”
So that was a welcome development, and you can see that the declared state of emergency is already bearing fruit, as the governor granted the CG’s request for land allocation to build staff quarters in Lagos,” he added.
However, Akuneme said that the service needed the Media to tell Nigerians that people should not think there were no passport booklets.
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