The House of Representatives has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to issue international passports within 72 hours to thousands of Nigerians who have applied, paid, and have been captured but are yet to be issued their international passport booklets.
It also urged the Ministry of Interior and the NIS to review its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company and IRIS Smart Technologies Limited in order to boost capacity and development of more passport booklet production lines.
The House said that this would ensure better service delivery that would enable Nigerians to get their international passports within 24 hours.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion moved at the plenary yesterday by Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo.
Ozurigbo said while moving the motion that the Ministry of Interior, through the NIS, is responsible for the issue and re-issue of Nigerian international passport to citizens and liaises with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and IRIS Smart Technologies Limited for the production of passport booklets and allied services.
The lawmaker decried the persistent scarcity of the passport booklets at most offices of the NIS and some of the nation’s foreign embassies.
He expressed concern that most Nigerians who have applied for international passports and fulfilled all the requirements are constrained to wait endlessly for their international passports, which ordinarily should take less than 48 hours to be issued.
The situation, he said, has been causing untold hardship on Nigerians with urgent needs to travel out of the country.
The lawmaker added that Nigerians who are on medical referrals outside the country are developing needless health complications while waiting for their passports to be issued while those for urgent business trips, conferences, etc. have missed rewarding business opportunities due to the unavailability of passport booklets to enable them to travel.
Ozurigbo lamented that Nigerians in the diaspora are experiencing undue delays due to the scarcity and the situation is fast breeding a class of passport racketeers who extort innocent citizens with the promise to assist them to secure international passports on time.
He stressed that access to international passport was one of the rights enjoyed by citizens all over the world.
The lawmaker said that international passports could be obtained with ease with immediate issuance upon completion of application.
The House resolved that “the NIS shall within 72 hours, issue international passports to thousands of Nigerians who have applied, paid, and have been captured but are yet to be issued their international passport booklets.”