Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Nigeria’s Minister of Interior has said the automation of passport applications is now 99% complete and it is expected to go live coming week. The minister made this known in an interview with Seun okunbaloye on Channels Television’s popular programme,Politics Today.
It could be recalled that some months back, the minister had vowed that reforms were underway to simplify the passport application process, which will give Nigerians the opportunity to submit online applications as early as December.
According to Tunji Ojo, “Automation of passport applications is 99 percent done. We’ve done the testing, and we should be going live in the next week or thereabouts.
He further said, “That will ensure that all Nigheria need to do in an immigration center—a passport center—is just biometrics, just to take your fingerprints. All other things are going to be in the comfort of your home, including uploading your passport picture and your supporting documents, just like your visa,” he added.
The minister said one of the reforms the ministry was implementing in passport management is to put an end to the “chaotic” passport application process saying he has told the service providers to make life easy for people. “We cannot, as a government and as a service, make things more difficult than they ought to be,’” he said. He however assured that the ministry would employ all avenues to reduce Nigerians’ frustration in the application process.
According to him, the new procedure for passport collection, only a biometric capture needs to be done in person, adding that all necessary details can be submitted via a Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) portal.
“You do not need to go to the passport office to have your picture captured. People apply for American visas, people apply for UK visas, and people apply all over the world. Your passport with the required specifications as directed by the NIS will be uploaded on the platform.
“You upload your passport online, you upload your supporting documents online, so when you go to the immigration office, you spend just like five minutes just to have your biometric captured; that’s all,” he said.
Tunji-Ojo stressed that the days of drawn-out enrollment procedures are long gone and unacceptable, adding that it is Nigerians’ right to experience a smooth procedure saying, it is unacceptable to inconvenience people based on their rights. He added that it is the right of the people to have a seamless experience.
“The era of people sacrificing a whole day just because they want to go to a passport office for enrollment is over;,” he said.