The federal government has directed officials of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to ensure issuance of international passports to genuine and qualified applicants within 48 hours.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said this on Friday in Lagos while flagging off the NIS Management retreat.
He also asked the NIS to scale up its facilitation at the airport to reduce long queues for arriving passengers.
Aregbesola said: “From information available to me, it is possible with the right technology in place for Nigeria Immigration Service to issue international passports to applicants who have paid the official fees after forty eight hours. If there is any delay, the officials should communicate to the affected applicants .
“One of the ways to achieve this is to deploy the right technology and eliminate human contact in the passport issuance process. This way, we eliminate sharp practices and racketerring built around the process. This is the way to go and all officials should shun all forms of corruption in the discharge of their duties.
“The primary role of the Immigration Service is the Security of the border and migration management. No unwanted , suspicious and criminal person must be allowed entry into our nation just as we are to prevent the exit from Nigeria of all known domestic real felons and or domestic potential felons from leaving Nigeria to tarnish our image abroad .
“All officers of the Service must as a matter of urgency, embrace the digital tradition and be technology/computer compliant, particularly at the senior and management level. Our officers must shun all forms of corruption through openness and transparency in the discharge of their duties.
“Should there be justifiable delay in delivering on this commitment, there must be a mechanism to communicate, such reasons (s) within a period as agreed in the retreat to such applicant for the passport which must not be later than 72 hours, after discovering such reason.
“With technology, it is possible to process and obtain the passport within 48 hours, if the application does not have any issues. Nigerian passport should be available within 48 hours maximum after application and at the official fee, the same goes for entry visa, resident permit, seamen license, as well as application and processing of other services.”