June 5, 2023

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has charged the acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Idris Isa Jere, to find a lasting easy path to the difficulties Nigerians go through in the issuance of passports.

He stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari was concerned about the difficulties Nigerians in diaspora faced in obtaining Nigerian passports.

A statement on Thursday by Afonja Fatai Ajibola, a deputy director, (Press & Public Relations) in the ministry, said the Minister gave the charge in Abuja while decorating the acting CG with the rank of Comptroller General.Aregbesola said, “I received a message from the president at FEC today which I want to make public. The president is concerned with the report coming from overseas on the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in getting a Nigerian passport. The challenges are there not because of the lack of concern.“Second, international visitors to Nigeria and even Nigerians who have the fortune of being born outside the country and therefore need to have a Nigerian passport before they can come into the country because they couldn’t get and want to come home through the visa on arrival platform find it difficult to process this effectively and seamlessly.“We can’t afford to have these challenges with our people in the Diaspora.”Aregbesola, who is the Chairman of the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board, however, said with the new passport reform ongoing at the NIS, booklet shortage was now a thing of the past.“I say to you that there is no shortage of booklets in the country, we may be having human challenges.“The truth is that, in terms of supply of booklets we have on the ground, there cannot be a shortage of booklets.“I read lamentations on social media and I want to say nobody can access Nigerian passport without going online, it is not possible for those who go online not to be serviced, although some still patronise touts to access the online process.“It is because of the difficulty we have managing ourselves, that is why they go through third parties and have refused to go through it the proper way. ”

The Minister, therefore, charged the Acting CG to hit the ground running and solve these problems.Meanwhile, Aregbesola said despite being decorated with the rank of a Comptroller General, Jere will still be referred to as ‘acting’ according to the terms of his appointment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.He said; “your new rank comes with more responsibilities, as such you must find a lasting solution in the issuance of passports and make the process seamless.”

Marvelous Ogidi

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