The federal government has recently unveiled its ambitious plan to modernize and streamline the passport application process in Nigeria, aiming to implement a fully biometric system by February 2024. This significant announcement was made by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, during the sixth edition of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit, a platform organized by Nigeria in Diaspora (NIDCOM) with the theme “New Vistas, New Aspirations, New Opportunities: The Diaspora and National Development.”
In his address, Minister Tunji-Ojo shed light on the current challenges associated with passport processing in the country and highlighted the government’s commitment to enhancing efficiency and convenience for Nigerians. He emphasized the impending introduction of a fully biometric immigration application process, a model successfully employed in many foreign countries to minimize human contact during the application process. This innovative system is expected to be operational by February 2024.
The minister assured that the government is keen on providing a hassle-free experience for Nigerians both at home and abroad, stating, “Nigerians at home and abroad deserve the best. They don’t have to suffer and sweat to get a Nigerian passport.” As part of the initiative, a team from the Ministry will initiate the E8 Mandate in the UK, marking the commencement of this transformative project.
In addition to the technological advancements, Minister Tunji-Ojo addressed concerns about unethical behavior within the ministry. He made it clear that any unethical conduct by officers would not be tolerated. Urging citizens to report such behavior, he emphasized the importance of curbing corruption within the system to boost effective service delivery.
Furthermore, the Minister unveiled another ambitious plan for the future—the home delivery of passports by 2024. The Ministry is actively collaborating with the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to facilitate the seamless delivery of passports across the country. Minister Tunji-Ojo outlined the ongoing automation of the end-to-end passport application process, assuring Nigerians of a “sweet experience” in the application process. He added, “By implication, Nigerians will not need to wait longer than two weeks before they get their passport.”
Providing a timeline for the phased implementation, the Minister revealed that by January of the following year, Nigerians will be able to complete the passport application process online. Subsequently, by February, in collaboration with various stakeholders, including NIPOST, citizens can expect to have their passports delivered to their homes, offices, or other preferred locations.
This strategic move toward digitalizing and modernizing the passport application process aligns with the global trend of leveraging technology to enhance government services. It not only signifies a commitment to providing efficient and convenient services for Nigerian citizens but also demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing longstanding challenges in the passport application and collection process.
As the government takes steps to implement these transformative changes, the collaboration with NIPOST and other relevant stakeholders becomes crucial. This multi-pronged approach aims to not only expedite the application process but also ensure the secure and timely delivery of passports to applicants’ chosen locations.
In conclusion, the announced plans by the federal government, as disclosed by Minister Tunji-Ojo, mark a significant leap toward a more efficient, transparent, and citizen-centric passport application process in Nigeria. The integration of biometric technology, coupled with the promise of home delivery, underscores the government’s commitment to leveraging innovation for the benefit of its citizens. As the nation anticipates these transformative changes, the successful implementation of these initiatives will undoubtedly contribute to an improved experience for all Nigerians seeking to obtain or renew their passports.
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