Reps give Immigration Service 72 hours to issue international passports to owners

House of Representatives has asked the Nigeria Immigration Service to, within 72 hours, issue International Passports to thousands of Nigerians who have applied, paid, captured but were yet to be given their booklets.

The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service to review its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and IRIS Smart Technologies Ltd.

The parliament said the review will boost the capacity and development of more passport booklet production lines and ensure better service delivery within 24 hours.

The ultimatum followed the consideration of a motion titled “Call for an End to the Scarcity of International Passport Booklets at Immigration Offices”, moved by Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo at the plenary.

In his motion, Ozurigbo noted the Federal Ministry of Interior, through the Nigeria Immigration Service, was responsible for the issue and re-issue of Nigerian International Passport to citizens and liaises with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and IRIS Smart Technologies Ltd for the production of passport booklets and allied services.

He said that there has been a persistent scarcity of the passport booklets at most Nigeria Immigration Service offices and some of the nation’s foreign embassies.

According to him “Most Nigerians who have applied for International Passports and fulfilled all the requirements are constrained to wait endlessly for their International Passports, which ordinarily takes less than 48 hours to be issued, a situation that is causing untold hardship on Nigerians with urgent needs to travel out of the country.

“Nigerians who are on medical referrals outside the country are developing needless health complications while waiting for their Passports to be issued while those for urgent business trips, conferences, etc. have missed rewarding business opportunities due to the unavailability of passport booklets to enable them to travel.

“Nigerians in the diaspora are experiencing undue delays due to the scarcity and the situation is fast breeding a class of Passport racketeers who extort innocent citizens with the promise to assist them to secure International Passports on time”.

Ozurigbo said that access to International Passport is one of the rights enjoyed by citizens all over the world, adding that “in other countries, International Passports were obtained with ease as they were issued immediately upon application.”

The lawmaker said that Nigerians should not be made to suffer before their rights were granted. Adopting the motion after securing a favourable voice vote, the House mandated its Committees on Interior and Foreign Affairs to ensure compliance and report back within 4 weeks for further legislative action. (Vanguard)

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