The federal government printed 1,350,000 passport booklets last year. This was stated by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
The Minister made the disclosure at a Lagos Business School Forum themed, “Nigeria in Challenging Times: The Contributions of the Ministry of Interior and Opportunities for Private Sector Participation,” held in Lagos.
The virtual event is part of LBS Public Sector Engagement designed to promote more public-private sector dialogue and partnership to enhance Nigeria’s inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.
Providing an update on passports issued to date, Aregbesola said: “1,350,000 passport booklets were produced and distributed worldwide as at December 31st 2021, against 764,293 booklets in 2020.” The minister said there is increasing demand for passports, which is mounting pressure on processing structure and resources.
He said the ministry is aware of challenges faced by applicants and is working tirelessly to alleviate them.
He stated that the ongoing passport reforms across the different passport offices in the federation will be a continuous process until all Nigerians can seamlessly and effortlessly apply and get their passports.
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He said, “The current experience will soon be a thing of the past. We are working very hard to reform the passport application and issuance process. This reform is going to be a continuous process. We want to significantly enhance the integrity of the Nigerian Passport by ensuring that non-Nigerians are not able to obtain it. We also want to bring passport service closer to the people as much as possible and eliminate touting and corruption in the process.”
He added that the ministry is working to identify unscrupulous elements within the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and has initiated a whistle blowing and mystery shopping process to catch such officers unawares.
He also stated that the Nigeria Visa Policy launched in 2020 has expanded the visa category from 6 to 79 and simplified the application process.