Federal government of Nigeria has promised to clear the backlog of Passport applications and issuance latest May 31.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made this known while receiving the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Commission’s management Staff in Abuja.
Aregbesola said this has become necessary because the Nigerian Passport is the strongest instrument of Sovereignty, Nationality and Citizenship.
He therefore explained that the Ministry has introduced sweeping reforms as it concerns passport application and issuance, stressing that a regime of not more than 72 Hours Express Passport Processing is underway.
Minister added that, “whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonafide Citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect.”
While speaking on Managed Migration, he promised to work with strategic agencies to see that Migration is profitable to the migrant and to the country of stay and homeland.
Aregbesola also applauded NiDCOM for her giant strides so far, describing the Commission as, “a veritable tool for strong and worthy engagement with the Nigerian Diaspora.”
The Minister while addressing the issue of historic African diaspora whose forefathers were taken away as slaves and who had done their DNA which identified them as Nigerians, said the issue would be looked at wholistically.
Dabiri-Erewa on her part commended the Minister’s effort in making the passport application and issuance seamless as well as the Ten Year Validity period as first of its kind in Nigeria.
She said, “this is cheering news for Nigerians in the Diaspora as they need not bother to renew their passport for ten years.”
According to her, 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.