The Nigerian government is set to commission 24 more International e-passport centers across the globe to enhance the ease of transacting business and other services.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Retired Major General Abdulrahman Danbazau gave the indication during the commissioning of a new e-passport office built in Kano state North western Nigeria.
Nigeria currently has 81 International e-passport centers with 39 of them located outside the shores of the nation.
“This is the second additional passport center we are commissioning in Nigeria in recent times. We hope to commission additional 24 passport offices worldwide soon, so that Nigerians would have the services they deserve and at the right time,” stressed the Minister of Internal Affairs.
According to the Minister, the opening of new international passport offices in addition to the old ones is part of the agency’s contribution to ease business transactions in Nigeria.
He said it will further reduce delay encountered by those coming and going out of the country for business.
He said the effort is in compliance with the executive order signed by the Nigerian President Mohammudu Buhari recently on business ease in the nation.
“Those going out will require passport which immigration provides, so it is our own contribution to the ease of doing business in Nigeria. It enhances public safety and internal security. There is no way Nigerians can travel across border to transact business without valid passport because it’s an international requirement”, explained the Minister.
The Minister however, read a riot act to the officers and men of the immigration service warning them to desist from exploiting International passport applicants or they risk losing their jobs.
“Some of you are charging applicants extra money apart from the government’s approved fees. Henceforth, any officer that is caught in the act of exploiting applicants would lose his/her job,” he cautioned.
He said the Immigration Regulation Act signed in 2017 will further enhance security in the country especially the movement of foreigners.
He said the law after 90 days gives authority to landlords, ward heads, chiefs and village heads to report any immigrant to the security operatives for proper evaluation, documentation and monitoring.
Rtd. Major Danvazzau commended the Kano state government for building and equipping the office which is the second in the state.
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, said since the e-passport was launched in the country in the year 2007 to date, the service had issued 80,329,000.00 passports to Nigerians, while 6.1 million e-passports were ready for issuance to applicants.
“The 6.1 million e-passports have captured bio-metric data. We are working together with the National identity Management commission to combine into one so that it will be the same information contained in the passport and the national ID Card. We will do the same for driving licence and others,” said Babandede.