THE minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said the Nigeria Immigration Service is set to issue international passports at all 774 local government areas.
The minister, who stated this at the opening of the centre in Maitama, said the opening of the centre, which signifies the inauguration of the passport issuance decentralisation policy of the administration is a first of many more to be established in every local government area in Nigeria and designed to offer specialized services to Nigerians.
The Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Express Centre, Maitama Abuja was established in partnership with the private sector.
The minister also promised Nigerians who patronise the newly opened Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) of getting their passports within 24 hours.
Ogbeni Aregbesola said: “MPEC is in response to the yearnings of the general public for the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service to devise additional ways that the Passport Issuance process can be less stressful and more efficient. It is the future. The goal is to have a facility like this in every local government in the country.
“Every Nigerian has the right to a Nigerian passport and it is our responsibility to put it in the hands of anyone desirous of it within the shortest possible time, without stress. The passport should be available in maximum of 72 hours of a successful application.”
Where there are issues, the applicant must be notified within 48 hours.”
The minister further stated that, “the commencement of the operations of this world class facility will not only offer Nigerians services of convenience and pleasure by taking away the hitherto stress in the conventional passport offices. It will also afford Nigerians the opportunity of getting their passports within 24 hours, at the high premium service and 72 hours at the ordinary premium service, albeit with added value and a little bit of extra cost.”
While also speaking, the managing director, IRIS Smart Technologies ltd., Olayinka Fisher who conducted a tour of the centre’s facilities stated that the company has not taken over the job of Immigration, but will be providing all the facilities, quality ambience and other premium value added service to fast track the passport issuance process.
The comptroller-general of the service, Muhammad Babandede, said the inauguration of the express centre was a step towards solving the problems associated with passport administration.
According to him, “The Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) is therefore, established to provide expedite and guarantee service for applicants willing to pay a premium for prompt and convenient service.
“The centre will be non-judgmental and has provision for large comfortable VIP lounge, refreshment, queue management system and other necessary facilities to ensure comfort and speedy delivery of quality service.
“This centre will have a dedicated National Identity Number (NIN), registration unit and cater to the complete passport issuance process from enrolment to production for only Fresh and Re-issue passport applications.
“Other categories of passport applications including change of data, replacement of damaged, lost/stolen passport and others shall continue to be processed at the Service Headquarters and other approved passport issuing authorities.”
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