Senate looks into delay in issuing international passport

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The Senate Committee on Interior will conduct an urgent investigation into the Nigeria Immigration Service’s (NIS) delays in issuing and renewing international passports.

The committee will submit its report in two weeks.

The resolution of the upper legislative Chamber followed a motion sponsored by Senator Lilian Ekwunife of the Anambra Central Senatorial District at a plenary on Tuesday.

In her motion titled “Delay on issuance and renewal of Nigeria International Passport” by the Nigerian Immigration Service, the lawmaker stated that it has caused untold hardship to Nigerians, emphasizing that even after payment, they do not receive services.

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She explained that Nigerians travelling outside the country, as well as those returning, are frustrated by the NIS’s epileptic services.

“International Passport is an official identity document issued to Nigerians for the purpose of travelling out and into the country in exercise of their rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement,” she says.

She claimed that the delay violated the Federal Government’s six-week deadline for the issuance of an International passport.

She stated that under the current Comptroller-General of NIS, applicants must wait three to six months before receiving their International passport, which she stated was unacceptable under any circumstances.

She revealed that the biometric capturing process takes five to eight weeks, after which applicants must wait four months or more to receive their passport.

According to Ekwunife, it has also become extremely difficult for passports to be processed across all immigration offices in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.

“The international students are also finding it very difficult to renew their passports in order to travel back to reunite with their families,” she said.

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Senator Geshom Bassey, who seconded the motion, reminded the Chamber that obtaining an international passport is a right.

Senators Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Adamu Bulkachuwa of Bauchi both condemned the delay and difficulty in obtaining an international passport in Nigeria.

In his remark, Senate President Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan referred the motion to the Committee on Interior for investigation.

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