…unveils passport production centre, front office in Ilesa
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Federal Government on Tuesday recorded another significant boost aimed at making passport application, processing and production more seamless for the travelling public with the distribution of the enhanced Nigerian e-Passport.
This came as it unveiled the new Passport Production Centre and the new Passport Front Office in Ilesa, Osun State.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who performed the milestone event witnessed by important dignitaries, stated that the launch of the new enhanced e-Passport, and the production and front office facilities would make it easier for more travellers to access the Nigerian international passport.
He said with the inauguration of the facilities, Ilesa has joined the list of places such as Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Katsina, Zaria, Daura as well as Nigerian missions in overseas countries such as: the United States, United Kingdom and Canada among others where the enhanced e-Passport system has been rolled out recently for easier access by Nigerians.
Aregbesola, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the needed leadership for all the achievements recorded by the ministry among which are the reforms of passport administration in the country.
He also commended the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS) for its commitment and dedication to the implementation of the numerous reforms of the passport administration.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service has continued to make very remarkable contributions for the overall service delivery and accomplishments of the mandate of the Ministry of Interior, which I have supervised in the last four years.
“The climax of these contributions by the NIS is the widely acclaimed reforms in the passport administration both at home and in the Diaspora,” the minister said.
He applauded the NIS under the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr. Isah Jere Idris, for their professionalism and commitment to qualitative service delivery.
Aregbesola, commended other stakeholders and service providers as well as the host community for their cooperation in making the Ilesa facilities possible, even as he urged the people to make the best use of the facilities.
In his speech, Idris stated that the enhanced e-Passport was significant to the Service’s drive for robust service delivery to Nigerians and the travelling public.
“The NIS is more than committed to producing results that meet the needs of our present day society while making the best use of resources at its disposal. The enhanced e-Passport is significant to our drive for robust service delivery to our citizens.
“We are aware of the challenges being experienced by some of our compatriots in accessing passport services in recent times but with the various efforts being emplaced, such as the unveiling of the enhanced e-Passport here in Ilesa, these challenges will soon give way for the emergence of a more seamless passport application and processing.
“Efforts are ongoing to ensure more front offices are opened in other states to reduce the traffic,” he stated.
CGI Jere added that new facilities would reduce delay faced by the travelling public to the barest minimum, while urging applicants for new passport or reissue to abide with the guidelines and ensure they apply and pay online, avoid middlemen as well as ensure they provided correct personal information and verified National Identification Number (NIN).
The Immigration boss, therefore, urged those who may have complaints to use any of the channels in resolving any issue including Twitter – @nigimmigration, Facebook – @nigimmigration or www.immigration.gov.ng to interact and chat with the NIS virtual assistant.
The CGI thanked the Minister for his enormous support and encouragement to the NIS, noting that without such collaboration the new facilities and many others might not have been accomplished.
He also thanked the state government and good people of Ilesa, especially the traditional and opinion leaders for the wonderful support given to the Service, even as he commended the officers and men of the Osun State Command for their strong commitment to national service and representatives of sister security and military agencies in the state for the existing synergy.
The Federal Government’s commitment to improve passport and immigration services in the country has resulted in the implementation of several reforms including rollout of enhanced e-Passport with Polycarbonate Data Page and 25 security features, and improved online passport application process and improved secured payment solutions that eliminate touting.
Others are: online appointment-based enrolment for passport after payment, opening of centralised passport production centres in Ibadan and Enugu to uptake availability of passport booklets, as well as opening of passport front offices in Alimosho (Lagos State), Daura (Katsina State), Oyo (Oyo State), and Zaria (Kaduna State) among others.
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