The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it will soon start the issuance of its enhanced 10 years validity passports in London and Atlanta, U.S.
The Controller-General of the Service, Mr Muhammad Babandede, disclosed this at a briefing with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.
Babandede said that the new enhanced passport would solve a lot of issues related to passport renewal by Nigerians in diaspora.
He said one of the challenges facing the agency was the none availability of passport booklets, adding that efforts were ongoing to address the problems.
He also added that the service was working at deploying more machines and personnel to Nigeria Foriegn missions abroad to clear the backlogs of passports for those who had registered.
“The new enhanced passport is intended to solve many problems especially the number of times Nigerians need to come and renew their passports.
“The idea is to also link the identity of Nigerians to their National Identification Number (NIN), which means we are reducing identity theft in the country,” he said.
He said that while the service was affected by COVID-19 outbreak, it was taking advantage of the pandemic to improve on its services delivery and efficiency.
He added that the NIS had developed a website for such Nigerians who would want to return to apply and get clearance to board flight with their expired passports and on arrival in Nigeria get a new one.
“With the closure of admissions due to COVID-19 policy in some countries, a lot of Nigerians are now holding expired passports.
“Nigerians in such countries can now board an aircraft after applying to the C-G for approval and clearance recieved, can proceed to the airport for their onward journey to Nigeria.
“The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has graciously approved it for the purpose of mitigating the problem with the opening of three front offices at our International Airports.
“The airports are Nnamdi azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Aminu International Airport, Kano, and Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos.
“This is to attend to passport needs of Nigerians on arrival before entrying into the country.”
He, however, denied reports that the service was producing passport booklets in Malaysia, saying that the production was contracted to IRIS SmRt Technology Ltd., a company 100 per cent owned by Nigerians.
He added that the Minister of Interior, the Minister of justice, and the service were working on domestication of production of passport booklets in Nigeria to address the challenges of its non-availability.