Between January 8 and January 21, 2024, 32,462 people applied for international passports and uploaded their documentation from the Nigeria Immigration Service website, indicating that the rush of Nigerians to leave the country in search of better opportunities reached a crescendo.
Fifty percent of the total applications have reportedly been approved for biometric capture and production, out of which 15,113.
The Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Caroline Adepoju, gave the overview of passport applications for the year 2024 while she was visiting the passport offices in Ikoyi and Alausa yesterday to check on the implementation of the automated passport application process.
After briefing reporters on the assessment, the head of immigration said of the
32,462 applications, 11,505 were awaiting approval, while 3,406 who made payment were yet to book appointments.
According to her, 1,438 applications were queried for various reasons.
Adepoju said: “50 per cent of the total applications have been successfully approved for biometric capture, production and issuance, 35 per cent awaits approval, 11 per cent made payments but yet to book appointments and only four per cent of total applications were queried.
“When queries are successfully answered, the applications return to the queue and are subsequently approved for biometric acquisition, production and issuance “.
Adepoju, who noted that the introduction of the automation of passport applications was not new, clarified that further: “The major difference now is that supporting documents are now uploaded online. It is a research-based decision and we have been recording successes.
“As of this morning (yesterday), we have only recorded four per cent rejection of uploaded documents which may be due to errors on the side of the applicant. But our help desk is operational 24/7.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service, our technical partners, service providers and other stakeholders worked together with the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, to come up with this reform on the automation of passport process which has been in place since the inception of the issuance of enhanced e-passport in 2020.”
She explained that the automation of passport application was aimed, among other benefits, at easing the application process and reducing human interface which had been a major complaint from applicants who had been extorted by touts during application.
The Immigration boss called on Nigerians to be patient and allow the NIS to ensure the perfection of the process.