Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has suspended the processing of new passport applications at all its offices nationwide till June 1.
This is also as it gave the passport processing offices till May 31, this year to clear up the mounting backlog of applications for the travel document.
The directive, which took effect from May 17, was disclosed in a statement signed by the agency’s Deputy Comptroller General, Mr AB Yarima.
According to the NIS, the suspension was necessary in order to ease the preparation for the commencement of a new passport regime.
“This directive, which comes into effect from today, May 17, 2021, has become necessary to allow enough time to clear all backlog of applications sequel to the commencement of the new passport regime on June 1, 2021,” said the NIS.
Continuing, the NIS statement read: “Consequent upon the foregoing, all PCOS are, therefore, directed to utilise this period, May 17, 2021, to May 31, 2021, to ensure that all backlogs are produced and handed over to command comptrollers for collection by members of the public concerned.”
All offices nationwide were advised to comply with the suspension of all applications until June 1.
However, the new directive may run counter to an earlier announcement made by the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who had, last month, said the Fderal Government has commenced a policy that cuts down the waiting time for fresh applications for passports to 72 hours.
“It is the future. The goal is to have a facility like this in every local government in the country.
“Every Nigerian has the right to a Nigerian passport and it is our responsibility to put it in the hands of anyone desirous of it within the shortest possible time, without stress.
“The passport should be available within a maximum of 72 hours of a successful application. Where there are issues, the applicant must be notified within 48 hours,” the minister had said.