The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has said the Nigeria Immigration Service received over 750, 000 applications out of which a total of 625,000 passports have been issued to Nigerians since the beginning of the year.
He added that many of those yet to get their passports were a result of the failure of applicants to provide their correct data and could not be contacted because they patronised touts.
The Minister stated this at the rollout of the enhanced e-Passport for Delta and Edo States, which was held at the Passport Office Headquarters, Benin, Edo State on Tuesday.
These were contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Sola Fasure.
The statement partly read, “Our enhanced passport is the real deal in passport making. Today’s event is unique in many ways. The most important is making the enhanced e-Passport available to the good people of Edo and Delta States. 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.
“This year alone, we have received about 750,000 applications out of which we have provided 625,000. The difference could have been due to many reasons, including failure of applicants to provide the correct information about themselves and matching their data with NIN. We could not contact them because they applied through touts who provided their own addresses or wrong ones altogether. But 625,000 is a huge and unprecedented figure, in less than half of the year, by any stretch of the imagination,” the Minister stated.
He also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) was worried about the hassles Nigerians go through in securing the passports.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to us is explicit. Make life easy as much as possible for every person you have to relate with and remove every hurdle hitherto in their way of getting business done.
“Last week, President Buhari expressed concern on report that some Nigerians, especially those abroad, were unable to obtain their Nigerian passports. I share this concern as well.
“I am asking therefore that the NIS do everything within its power to make this a thing of the past. Every Nigerian desirous of the travel document should be able to collect it within the stipulated time, without any stress whatsoever.”