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Issue Passports To Applicants Within 72 Hours, Reps Tell NIS

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The House of Representatives has given the Nigerian Immigration Service 72 hours to issue passports to persons who have applied and paid for the international travel document.

At the plenary on Thursday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by Mr Ugonna Ozurigbo, titled, ‘Call for an end to the scarcity of International Passport (sic) Booklets at Immigration Offices.’

Consequently, the lawmakers resolved to urge the NIS to “within 72 hours, issue passports to thousands of Nigerians who have applied, paid and have been captured (biometrics) but have yet to be issued their passport booklets.”

The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Interior and the NIS to review its Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and IRIS Smart Technologies Ltd, with a view to boosting capacity and development of more passport booklet production lines, ensuring better service delivery and Nigerians getting their passports within 24 hours.

In addition, the House mandated the Committees on Interior and Foreign Affairs to ensure compliance with the resolutions and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Moving the motion, Ozurigbo noted that the Federal Ministry of Interior through the NIS is responsible for the issuance and re-issuance of Nigerian 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.

The lawmaker, however, decried the “persistent scarcity” of passport booklets at most Immigration offices and some of the nation’s foreign embassies.

He said, “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”.

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