The Acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Isa Jere Idris, has appealed to Nigerians to cooperate with the organisation in its bid to sanitise the system and improve service delivery, especially in the area of passport administration and issuance.
Idris said this in a message to newsmen on Sunday.
He said that apart from reducing incidences of corruption, the introduction of the appointment system helped to improve productivity, reduce rowdiness and curtail excesses of touts and some personnel of the Service.
He said, “The integration of the online appointment system with the existing online payment system, has restored orderliness to the passport offices to a large extent, as applicants can now make payment and choose the appointment date and time which is convenient to them, thereby reducing the time they would have spent at the passport offices as each passport office has been allocated with a daily appointment capacity which was arrived at, based on analysis.”
The acting Comptroller General, however, enjoined passport applicants to plan their travels to avoid what he described as the fire brigade approach by many Nigerians.
He said it has become the habit of many Nigerians to wait until the time they need passports before applying.
According to Mr Idris, as of September 2021, there were 85,163 passport applications that were yet to be processed locally while the figure stood at 18,746 in the diaspora.
He said as a result of the backlog, overcrowding and rowdiness were observed across the various offices of the organisation, and the need for urgent implementation of the enhanced e-passport as initiated by his predecessor.
He further noted that as of April, the backlogs in Nigeria have been reduced to 33,625 while the foreign backlog now stands at 9,661.
“It is pertinent to note that between January and April 2022, a total of 478,650 booklets have been distributed across the globe, and I can assure you that more than 10,000 Nigerians have benefited from this initiative and it is still ongoing,” he said.
The acting CGIS maintained that the launch of the enhanced electronic passport in some parts of the country and the United Kingdom helped to ease the tension created by the backlogs.
According to him, in the South-West and part of the North-Central areas of the country, a total of 40,000 passports have been produced and there is no backlog of passport applications from previous years at the Centres.
He said the backlog of about 40,000 in the South-West and part of the North-Central where the enhanced e-passport was rolled out in December 2021 has been cleared.
He said, “The South-east, which had about 27,000 before the enhanced e-passport was rolled out on March 3, 2022, is now about 75 per cent cleared.
“The backlog situation at the other centres within Nigeria has also improved with the supply of booklets. As a result of the improvement, we have made the issue of clearance of backlogs a top priority by ensuring the supply of a large quantity of booklets as well as closely supervising the allocation of these booklets to the passport offices.”