Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has disclosed that over 250,000 processed passports were unclaimed by their owners while unveiling the enhanced electronic Passport facility of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS in Enugu on Thursday.
He also commissioned the Passport Production Centre of the NIS at the Enugu Passport office.
At the event, he disclosed that over 250,000 processed passports were unclaimed by their owners.
The Minister, who captioned his speech, “Excellent Service Delivery is Uncompromisable”, said he was delighted that the enhanced e-Passport had been made available to the good people of the South East.
He noted that “The enhanced e-Passport comes in various categories, including the 64-page-10-year validity Passport which is quite convenient for frequent travellers.
“It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance. Only very few countries in the world can boast of it as of today. The document is of higher grade with additional 25 security features than the one currently in use.
“It is polycarbonate in design and therefore water-resistant. It cannot be compromised by counterfeiters and identity thieves.”
He added that the NIS had continued to ensure that the Nigerian Passport satisfied all the standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Aregbesola said despite some challenges witnessed in the past, “it will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, the NIS has issued about 3 million passports to Nigerians. Last year alone, 1.3 million passports were issued.
“Also, last time I checked, over 250,000 passports remain uncollected by applicants. Their owners will probably be among those complaining they are yet to receive their passports.
“Nevertheless, many applicants are not going to have their passports because of the errors in their applications, which delayed processing.
“They may not know because they applied through touts and other illegal channels.
“A major challenge of passport administration is the illegal patronage of touts and NIS officials, instead of the stipulated online platform.
“Our application system is designed to eliminate personal contact, other than for biometric purpose. This is to curb corruption, extortion and inflation. But as long as applicants try to cut corners, they defeat our purpose and create avoidable problems.”
He revealed that the system makes room for six weeks for fresh application and three weeks for renewal.
According to him, the period of time would enable the NIS to investigate and verify claims by the applicants.
He lauded the Governor of Enugu State, and indeed the good people of the State, “for the excellent support and cooperation that have consistently accorded all the agencies under our Ministry in this State.”
In his remarks at the event, Governor Ifeanyi, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya assured that the State Government would continue to partner with the NIS and sister agencies towards ensuring enduring peace and security in the State.