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FG debunks opening of passport offices in hotels, banks.

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Joseph Ovoboguono Ediruo Report

Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola
The Federal Government has refuted claims that it would open passport front offices in hotels and banks to facilitate the swift administering and processing of international passports in the country.

The Ministry of Interior said this on Monday adding that it was working with the Nigerian Immigration Service to reform the passport process but did not say offices would be opened in banks and hotels.

In a statement entitled: ‘Clarification: Passport offices to open in hotels, banks amid delays’ released by the ministry via its verified Twitter page on Monday, about 1.5 million passports have been produced this year which surpassed previous yearly records.

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According to the statement, the ministry has recorded success in the elimination of cash payment for passport service at all passport centres among other feats achieved.

It read, “The attention of the Office of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has been drawn to news publications with the above subject matter, where an unnamed individual was said to have represented the Minister and made comments that are not in consonance with the policy drive of the Ministry, which supervises the Nigeria Immigration Service.

“To be clear, the Minister did not directly or indirectly state that passport front offices will be opened in hotels or banks.

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“The Ministry is working with the Nigerian Immigration Service under the able leadership of CG Isah Jere, to reform the passport process by boosting the operations of the existing passport offices across the Nation and in the Diaspora to deliver improved passport experience for Nigerians with the ultimate goal of eliminating corruption and incentivizing productivity.

“This passport reform has recorded several bold and successful initiatives not least of which include; 1. The elimination of cash payment for any passport service at ALL Passport Centers, 2. The introduction of a digital Appointment Management System (AMS) allowing Nigerians to book biometric capture appointments in advance, 3. The introduction of standardised timelines for passport collection (3 weeks for Re-issue, 6 weeks for fresh application) after biometric capture amongst many others.

“Indeed, this reform is yielding results. So far this year, 1.5 million passports have been produced for Nigerians, dwarfing all previous yearly productions. We urge Nigerians to support the #passportreform initiative, by applying well in time, avoid using middlemen, apply yourself online and discourage corruption.”

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