The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede, has extended the commencement of the new Passport regime earlier scheduled for June 1 by one week.
The spokesperson for the agency, Mr Amos Okpu, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday. Reports have it that the service had announced the suspension of receiving and processing of all fresh passport applications nationwide until June 1.
NAN also reports that the suspension was to allow for clearance of the backlog of all passport applications received before May 17, as all backlogs were expected to be cleared by May 31.
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“Babandede wishes to inform the public, especially Passport applicants that the Service had made significant progress in the clearance exercise of the backlog of Passport applications.
“So far, a total number of 230,500 applications have been cleared and the Passports produced. Out of the number, a total of 43,350 are yet to be collected. “Passport Control Officers have been directed to continue to send out short message notifications for collection to all applicants,” Okpu added.
The Immigration boss further directed that details of all Passports that were yet to be collected be uploaded on the service website www.immigration.gov.ng for the attention of the public.
“The extension is to clear up all backlog of Passport applications across Issuing Centres. “
A huge number of applicants are already turning up to collect their Passports across Issuing Centres and this is causing some forms of congestion.
“ This situation will not allow the Service to accommodate new applications especially considering our desire to ensure that people who come to our offices comply with all the COVID-19 Protocols.
“This period shall be used to attend to applicants for collection, clear all the remaining backlogs as well as improve systems automation for the takeoff of the new Passport regime which will commence by June 8,” he said.
Babandede assured the public of full commitment to improving service delivery to all Passport applicants and others.