Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has pledged that all backlog of Passport applications and issuance will be cleared latest May 31st.
Aregbesola made the pledge when he received the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Management Staff of the Commission in Abuja.
While emphasising that the Nigerian Passport is the strongest instrument of Sovereignty, Nationality and Citizenship, the minister revealed that the Ministry of Interior has introduced sweeping reforms as it concerns passport application and issuance.
He stressed that a regime of not more than 72 Hours Express Passport Processing is underway.
According to the Minister, “whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonafide Citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect”. On Managed Migration, the
Interior Minister promised to work with strategic agencies to ensure that Migration is profitable to the migrant and to the country of stay and homeland.
On the issue of historic African diaspora whose forefathers were taken away as slaves, and who had done their DNA which identified them as Nigerians and who are requesting Nigerian citizenship, the Minister said the issue would be looked into holistically.
Speaking further, he raised concerns over the attitudes of people who expose Nigerians, especially, young girls to undignified engagements outside the shores of the country.
“We have no choice than to ensure that Nigerians, no matter where they are in the world are supported, so as to give them a sense of dignity and integrity,” he said.
He promised the commitment of the Ministry of Interior and its relevant Agencies in supporting the Commission to facilitate seamless and easy return of Nigerians facing challenges abroad.
Furthermore, the minister called for more opportunities to be given to youths through enterpreneuship development, just as he also suggested the need for Government to facilitate labour-exchange between Nigeria and other countries, explaining such initiative will reduce the penchant for illegal migration.
“I announced a new passport processing regime yesterday which would commence on the 1st of June, this year, the timeline of six weeks was announced to ensure that whoever holds Nigerian passport is a bonafide citizen,” the Minister stressed.
On her part, the Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa commended the minister’s effort in making the passport application and issuance seamless as well as described the 10 years validity period as first of its kind in Nigeria.
The NIDCOM Boss said, “this is cheering news for Nigerians in the Diaspora as they need not bother to renew their passport for ten years”.
She said the Covid 19 restrictions which hampered issuance of passports to Nigerians abroad affected a lot of them in different ways and commended the ministry for measures taken to clear the backlog.
While informing the minister of the setting up of Diaspora focal offices in 33 states of the federation, the NIDCOM boss also sought the participation of the Ministry in some programs and engagements with Nigerians in the Diaspora which include: National Diaspora Day Celebrations, Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit, Quarterly Diaspora Lecture Series, among others.