Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced plans to open passport front offices in several key cities across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales), within the next three months.
During an appearance on the Tuesday edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, the minister addressed the challenges faced by Nigerians in the diaspora when renewing their passports at foreign missions.
“I think there are only two places where we have this challenge now, realistically. I think in the UK, precisely, London and in the US — precisely, in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians,” Tunji-Ojo admitted.
Focusing on the UK, where numerous notable cases have been documented, the minister contended that the sole remedy to address the challenges would be the establishment of passport front offices in strategic cities by February 2024.
“There is no quick fix. But we have ensured Nigerians that by February next year, we would have opened our front offices such that we’ll have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales, and Scotland,” the minister said.
“So, once we have this, definitely, it will reduce the stress of Nigerians, it will reduce the waiting period, and of course, it will bring efficiency into the whole passport procurement system.”
Tunji-Ojo explained that the problem existed “because we have only one passport office in the entire United Kingdom“.
He clarified that Nigerians living in outlying cities like Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, Belfast (Northern Ireland), and Manchester or Birmingham faced the necessity of travelling to London for passport renewals due to the lack of passport offices in these areas.
Highlighting the substantial Nigerian population in the country, the interior minister emphasized the need to assess the immigration office’s daily capacity and the volume of passport requests, noting the importance of addressing the growing demand.