…gov pledges to deliver Auchi passport office to Immigration Service before 2023
BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday, launched the Benin Passport Production Centre and the enhanced electronic passport to improve passport application process in Edo State.
Obaseki, at the launch by the Nigerian Immigration Service, in Benin City, pledged to build and deliver the Auchi passport office to the Nigeria Immigration Service before the end of the year to ease the process of passport application in the state.
The governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for acknowledging the huge travelling population in Edo State and allowing the establishment of the passport production center in Edo State.
He said, “This action will help ease the application process, including the processing and production of passports in Edo State for the use by our residents as well as our brothers in Delta State.
“The Auchi passport office will be built by the Edo State Government before the end of the year so as to enable us ease the process of passport application, particularly in Edo North Senatorial District of the state, as well as the production and issuance of passports to Nigerians living in Edo State.”
Obaseki further noted, “We are in total solidarity with you to help us stamp out touting in our passport issuance and administration process in Edo State as we will help to disseminate the information of the new system of passport application.
“There have been complaints of lack of booklets but the Minister has assured us that this is now a problem in the past. We are happy that we have a production facility in Edo State as it will help us overcome the challenges.
“Local production of passports will ensure that value addition is done locally. This system will create entrepreneurs around the service to support the system, as moving to an electronic base doesn’t mean people will lose their jobs.”
On the enhanced passport, the governor said, “The use of the enhanced passport has become the norm today as you don’t see immigration officers but the machines. This is where Nigeria is going with this launch today as this will move Nigeria where it rightly belongs in the comity of nations as it relates to passport and travels.
“We have every reason to believe that with what they have put in place, we would have our passports ready within six weeks. I commend the Nigeria Immigration Service on the integration of the NIN database with the passport production process. It will curb identity fraud that we have today.”
On his part, Aregbesola said between 2019 till date, three million passports have been given to Nigerians, adding, “This year alone, 750,000 passports have been received by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) as 625,000 have been collected.”
The minister said by December 2022, the Electronic Data Management System will be in place to take away the face-to-face interaction with humans and more humans and machines.
He warned the officers of the service not to exploit the applicants by creating artificial scarcity of booklets, noting, “Anyone that tries to exploit the people will meet stiff resistance and punishments will be melted out on erring officers. For this new system, as of today, we have 10,000 booklets to last for five weeks.