The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said that passport booklets are now available at its centres across the country and overseas.
The Comptroller-General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking at the commissioning of the Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) in Abuja.
Nigerians have been lamenting their inability to obtain passports from the NIS due to scarcity of booklets in the country.
But the immigration boss apologised for the difficulty encountered by Nigerians in the last few weeks during the passports application process.
He said measures have been put in place to clear the pending backlog and restore normal passports issuance.
“We acknowledge and apologize for the challenges faced in the past few weeks regarding passport booklets availability.
“I am glad to inform you that booklets are now available and are being distributed to all our passport issuing centres.
“We are aware of huge backlogs of passports especially in our missions largely due to the inability of Nigerians to access the missions and be captured.
“We witness a huge gap between payment, enrollment and issuance especially in places like London, where there are over 20, 000 applicants who paid and are yet to be captured.
“A special team will be dispatched to facilitate enrollment and production in all the affect passports offices in Nigeria and abroad.
“With the closure of some Missions due to COVID-19 compliant policy of some countries, Nigerians in such countries where Missions are closed and are holding expired passports can board aircraft after applying to the CGI for approval and clearance received they can proceed to the airport for their onward journey o Nigeria.”
Babandede explained that Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregebesola, has approved the opening of passport offices at Kano, Abuja and Lagos airports to attend to Nigerians who have boarded aircraft with an expired passport before entry into the country.
He assured that the newly established centre in Abuja, dubbed the ‘premium passport processing centre’ will cater to Nigerians seeking to obtain their passports within a maximum of 72 hours.