The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has explained the rationale behind the federal government’s introduction of new prerequisites for obtaining or renewing international passports.

The Minister said the new conditions introduced as prerequisites for obtaining or renewing international passports were instituted to curb the acquisition of Nigerian passports by non-citizens.

Tunji-Ojo stated Wednesday this in Abuja while responding to questions from the newsmen, saying “the passport is a security document exclusive to Nigerian citizens.”

According to the Minister, the new conditions would impede non-Nigerians from acquiring the passport, revealing that foreigners have exploited the inefficiencies of the previous system.

Meanwhile the Minister acknowledged challenges faced by new passport applicants, assuring the public of an enhanced process in the coming weeks.

The new conditions, including the provision of a citizenship certificate, date of birth certificate and the National Identification Number (NIN), have become critical in verifying applicant’s true citizenship.

Further speaking on the motive behind the introduction of the new process, Tunji-Ojo emphasized that the reform aimed at simplifying the passport acquisition process for Nigerians through facilitating speedy online application, production, and passport collection.

“We have to introduce this new system in order to stop those non-Nigerians carrying Nigerian passports. Contrary to reports, the new process is working very effectively and hiccups recorded is only 4 per cent, which is significant improvement for a system that is newly introduced and I assure you that in the next one or two weeks we will have near perfect system.

“We have to improve our process of obtaining passports because passport is a security document. This new system has improved accessibility, transparency and efficiency,” the Minister stated.

Looking ahead, the Minister outlined plans for contactless biometrics in passport renewal, affirming the government’s commitment to building a better future for Nigerians -home and in the diaspora.

Speaking on the observable change in cost for the 5-year passport, the Minister, however, noted that the new cost was agreed to taking a cue from the cost of the 10-year passport.

“We are building a future for Nigerians where things should be done in a better way. We changed the price of five-year passport because the 10-year passport is N70, 000; so, the one for five years should be half of that amount, which is N35. 000. We are committed to making things better in our country,” the Minister said.



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