- Sodiq Yusuf
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that the practice which began in 2021 as an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic had a backlog of over 600,000 sorted within a year.
According to investigations, periodically, the Nigeria Immigration Service updates its records and thus provides an account of passports on the collection waiting list, with a view to urgently addressing their availability to the people.
The current Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, during a courtesy visit by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu noted that the government is working to clear the current over 200,000 backlog.
“When we came on board, the passport crisis was an embarrassment. And, we said: it cannot continue!” a statement from the minister’s spokesman Alao Babatunde quoted Ojo.
“As of this morning, I can tell you that about 60,000 passport backlogs have been cleared, especially 59,906. On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, when I gave the 2-week ultimatum, we had over 200,000 backlogs. We have recorded progress, and I maintain my word that those backlogs must be cleared.”
Edu expressed that the purpose of her visit was to strengthen collaboration with the ministry in addressing issues such as human trafficking, veterans’ welfare, underemployment, and poverty.
She said the ministry’s crucial role in addressing human trafficking concerns, given its supervisory role within the NIS.
The interior minister is assuring her of his full cooperation.
“His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed us to see the place of partnership as agents of his #RenewedHope Agenda, and we are here to deliver on this mandate,” he added.
“We assure you of our support. Your initiative is progressive and commendable, especially at this crucial time in the history of our country. There is a lot of work to be done, and we cannot work in silos as the President has directed.”