. . . Says Nigerians can process passports within 24 hours
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has commissioned the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Passport Express Centre at Maitama, Abuja.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, the Minister said the Maitama Passport Express Centre MPEC, was established in partnership with the private sector, adding that, “It is the first of many more to be established and designed to offer specialized services to Nigerians”, as it was the vision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Nigeria Immigration Services to build such centre in every local government of the country.
TheFact Nigeria reports that Aregbesola mentioned ease of doing business, reducing the challenges faced by Nigerians in obtaining passports, minimising human contact in the face of the prevailing Covid19 pandemic, as well as elimination of prospects of corruption, as justification for the establishment of the Center.
“A centre like this is necessary to reduce stress. Secondly, by minimising human contact, it eliminates the prospect of corruption. Further to the above, the sudden emergence of COVID-19 in our world today has not only affected our health, but it has also affected the way we do business and interact socially. Therefore, as we continue to adjust to the ‘New Normal’, the Nigeria Immigration Service, by this initiative, is decentralizing the Passport issuing process by bringing it to the doorstep of Nigerians.”
“The centre will offer value added service to all Nigerians, irrespective of their status; socially, politically and economically. This implies that the centre will serve the Passport needs of Nigerians who may be desirous of premium services”.
Aregbesola also stated that while this is in line with international best practices, it is also in conformity with the Executive Order 1 on the ease of doing business in Nigeria which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, adding that it would also play a role in addressing unemployment as it would generate employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“This centre we are gathered here to commission today, is in response to the yearnings of the general public for the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service to devise additional ways that the passport issuance process can be less stressful and more efficient. It is the future. The goal is to have a facility like this in every state in the country”.
The minister further emphasized that “every Nigerian has the right to a Nigerian passport and it is our responsibility to put it in the hands of anyone desirous of it within the shortest possible time, without stress”, adding that the passport should be available within 24 hours, at the high premium service and 72 hours at the ordinary premium service, albeit with added value and a little bit of extra cost.
Aregbesola also expressed delight at the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service in making history in the cause of actualizing the noble objectives of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide quality leadership and governance and bring the greatest goods to the highest number of people.
He commended the NIS for the achievements recorded only within the first quarter of the year, recalling the commissioning, earlier this month, of the Data Management Centre of the agency, the recent presentation of the electronic temporary passport for Nigerians abroad that do not have the regular passports but need a one way travel document to return to Nigeria, and most recently, the presentation, last week of the Service’s annual report.
The minister was quick to attribute the achievements of the feats to the unwavering support and sterling leadership of President Buhari, who has supported the ministry and especially the NIS. “My thanks and admiration of him is therefore without reservation”, Aregbesola said.
While also commending and thanking the entire personnel of the NIS in conjunction with its technical partners for their good work in executing this initiative, the Minister of Interior also I warned that “it is no time to rest on your oars. There are still many frontiers to be conquered in the quest to effectively manage our borders and provide adequate security to the Nigerian people in all ramifications”.
He urged them to continue to explore and develop innovative and technologically driven ideas aimed at repositioning the NIS to compete favourably with its counterparts all over the world without prejudice to national security.
“The NIS has no other choice but to rise to the challenges of our time and deliver efficient, effective, and satisfactory service to Nigerians as nothing short of this will be entertained,” the minister stated.