Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says Nigerians in diaspora with expired passports can return home for the renewal “without fear of harassment”.
He gave the assurance at a webinar organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on Saturday.
The minister said the establishment of front offices have been approved at Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt airports to help Nigerians “who arrive the country on expired passports to have their passports renewed immediately”.
“It is in this regard that the NIS recently granted a waiver for Nigerians with expired passports desirous of coming to Nigeria to do so without fear of harassment by airlines,” he said.
Aregbesola also said he has given a May 31 deadline to clear all backlogs of passport applications.
He further explained that the delay in passport issuance experienced by Nigerians is one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The Nigerian Immigration Service in recent time has been facing challenges in passport issuing, particularly because of a shortage of booklet, both locally and abroad. The ministry and NIS have been frantically working to resolve this.
“I gave a May 31st deadline to clear all backlogs of passport application. To ensure a permanent solution to the recurrent scarcity of booklet, the federal government is at an advanced stage of domesticating the production of passport booklets here in Nigeria.
“So, with what we are commencing on June 1st, I am confident that we shall no longer experience any shortage of booklets and the issuance and renewal of passports will be seamless starting from the 1st of June.
“To ensure efficient and effective service delivery to Nigerians, we have recently reviewed the passport issuing process with a view to streamlining the process for better performance while also eliminating the activities of touts.
“All passport applications and issuance are to be made online. Effective June 1, all passport application and issuance will take a period of six weeks to enable the NIS to carry out due diligence on all applicants.”