TRACKING >>As part of the comprehensive passport reform policy of the Federal Government the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has begun the issuance of a 10-year validity passport.
The reform is expected to reduce the incidence of counterfeiting, damage, as well as forgery.
Conducting a select group of journalists around the issuance facility at the headquarters the NIS’ spokesman, Mr. Sunday James, a Deputy Comptroller, said National Identity Number (NIN) was compulsory for all applicants seeking the new document.
Officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) were seen capturing applicants, as pre-condition for the issuance of the passport.
According to James, the presence of NIMC at the Immigration headquarters has been replicated in passport offices across the country, to ease the difficulty occasioned in going to NIMC, before proceeding to passport offices.
“The first priority for the capturing of the new passport, the NIN is a mandatory field in the document that is supposed to be used to process the new enhanced passport.
“The NIMC staff are domiciled within the passport office of the headquarters o NIS. The integration of the NIN on the new passport is part of the validation and requirement for the issuance of the new enhanced passport.
“The inclusion of the NIN on the new enhanced passport is a validation for the new enhanced passport without which you cannot get the passport. Each applicant must come to NIMC, a provision made by NIS in all the service windows.
“All our passport offices have this provision so that Nigerians will not suffer going to NIMC offices to get the same facilities within the passport office at the immigration command and headquarters”, James said.
He added: “After getting your NIN, you go to the capturing Centre. We have 12 enrolment points. Each enrollee/applicant takes just 2 minutes to be captured. But firstly, we have to confirm the information given by them. It might exceed to four minutes.
“Each work station can capture 60 applicants. In a day you can capture 60 times 12. That is in a day you can capture 720 persons in a week you can capture 720 times 6 working days. Which is 4320.
“The Comptroller General of Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede wishes to use this medium to inform Nigerians that the Service will continue to issue the old booklet in all the Passport Offices at the State Commands while the Service Headquarters Abuja will only issue the new passport booklet. However, the Passport Office Gwagwalada continues to issue the old passport for now pending the rollout at other centres.
“The new enhanced polycarbonate passport booklet which was launched by Mr. President on the 15th January 2019 is part of a comprehensive passport reform approved by the Government to improve the quality and security of the travel document with a 10-year validity passport that reduces the incidence of damage, counterfeit, and forgery”.
Also speaking Comptroller of Passport, Mrs. Edith Onyemenam.declared the readiness of the Service to ensure the success of the reform.
She said: “We are ready to roll out. We have worked feverishly to ensure that this is a huge success so I don’t think there is anything stopping us from rolling out today.
“We expect that the applicants should go online and make payments before coming to process the application. We are not glossing over the policy of the government of no NIN no passport.
The public are advised not to rush for the new booklet as the new enhanced passport will run concurrently with the old one.
Meanwhile, the Service has clarified that applicants with six months passport validity, were not eligible for the new booklet, even as it advised them to make payments online.
“Applicants holding a passport with more than 6 months validity are not eligible for the new booklet except in the case of damage, change of data and those whose passport booklets are exhausted.
“Applicants are equally advised to pay online or directly to the banks situated within the passport offices.
“The general public is hereby advised to avoid patronizing touts as all the service windows are equipped to meet their needs”it noted.