EDO State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has made his plans known towards the construction of a new passport office for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Auchi, Edo North Senatorial District, to ease access to travel documents before the end of the year.
Mr Obaseki made this known during the commissioning of a passport production centre and the rollout of enhanced electronic passports, in the company of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Benin City, the state capital.
Commending the minister for extending the facility to the state, Obaseki said: “The new production centre will help us mitigate touting and all the challenges associated with the process of getting a passport.”
He added: “We are happy that Edo is now a production centre that will serve the huge number of travellers in the state. This will ease the production of travel documents.
“We are in solidarity with you to stamp out touts from the process. There are complaints of lack of production materials and the process is slow.”
The governor noted that “the new electronic platform will create new entrepreneurs who will support the system and will restore integrity to the process,” adding that more jobs will be created for people who will set up booths to assist people who want to process their passport online.
Earlier, the minister assured that “the Nigeria Immigration Service was committed to changing the quality of service it offers at all levels.”
Aregbesola said: “On the complaint about the non-availability of passports for citizens, I can assure you that we are on top of the situation.
“The reason we are commissioning this facility in Edo is that the state is next to Lagos in Nigeria in terms of demand for travel documents, so we must do this here. With the new production centre, there is no reason for the scarcity of the document over the scarcity of booklet.”
He described the new enhanced e-passport as the “real deal in terms of security, durability and one of the best in the world, with 25 additional security features; water-resistant, polycarbonate in design and cannot be compromised by counterfeiters.
“We have stipulated six weeks for new passports and three weeks for renewal.”
He explained that the new process can only be done through online applications, urging citizens who need the document to access the portal and apply for their passports.
He tasked officers of the NIS not to exploit Nigerians who approach them for guidance.