The rush by Nigerians to leave the country for greener pasture reached its crescendo in the new year as 32,462 persons have so far applied for international passports and uploaded their documents from the Nigeria Immigration Service site between January 8 and 21,2024.
Of these applications, 15,113 have reportedly been approved for biometric capture and production, which is fifty per cent of the total application.
The summary of passport applications for the year 2024 was provided by the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Caroline Adepoju, who was on a visit to Ikoyi and Alausa passport offices, yesterday, to see how things were working, regarding the introduction of the automated passport application process.
Briefing journalists at the end of the assessment, the Immigration boss said of the 32,462 applications, 11,505 were awaiting approval, while 3,406 who made payment were yet to book appointments.
According to her, 1,438 applications were queried for various reasons.
Adepoju said: “50 per cent of the total applications have been successfully approved for biometric capture, production and issuance, 35 per cent awaits approval, 11 per cent made payments but yet to book appointments and only four per cent of total applications were queried.
“When queries are successfully answered, the applications return to the queue and are subsequently approved for biometric acquisition, production and issuance “.
Adepoju, who noted that the introduction of the automation of passport applications was not new, clarified that further: “The major difference now is that supporting documents are now uploaded online. It is a research-based decision and we have been recording successes.
“As of this morning (yesterday), we have only recorded four per cent rejection of uploaded documents which may be due to errors on the side of the applicant. But our help desk is operational 24/7.
The Nigeria Immigration Service, our technical partners, service providers and other stakeholders worked together with the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, to come up with this reform on the automation of passport process which has been in place since the inception of the issuance of enhanced e-passport in 2020.”
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She explained that the automation of passport application was aimed, among other benefits, at easing the application process and reducing human interface which had been a major complaint from applicants who had been extorted by touts during application.
The Immigration boss called on Nigerians to be patient and allow the NIS to ensure the perfection of the process.