Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, has assured Nigerians of obtaining their international passports within 24-hour following the commissioning of the newly built Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC).
The centre, located in Abuja, was established in partnership with the private sector.
Aregbesola said it marked the beginning of the decentralisation of the issuance of passport and hinted that more of such centres would be built across the country to speed up issuance of the document.
“MPEC is in response to the yearnings of the general public for the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service to devise additional ways that the passport issuance process can be less stressful and more efficient. The goal is to have a facility like this in every local government in the country.
“Every Nigerian has the right to a Nigerian passport and it is our responsibility to put it in the hands of anyone desirous of it within the shortest possible time, without stress. The passport should be available in maximum of 72 hours after a successful application. Where there are issues, the applicant must be notified within 48 hours.”
The minister added: “The commencement of the operations of this world-class facility will not only offer Nigerians services of convenience and pleasure by taking away the hitherto stress in the conventional passport offices, it will also afford Nigerians the opportunity of getting their passports within 24 hours at the high premium service and 72 hours at the ordinary premium service, albeit with added value and a little bit of extra cost.
The Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, said the inauguration of the express centre was a step towards solving the problems associated with passport administration.
“The Maitama Passport Express Centre (MPEC) is therefore, established to provide expedite and guaranteed service for applicants willing to pay a premium for prompt and convenient service.
“The centre will be non-judgmental and has provision for large comfortable VIP lounge, refreshment, queue management system and other necessary facilities to ensure comfort and speedy delivery of quality service.
“This centre will have a dedicated National Identity Number (NIN), registration unit and cater to the complete passport issuance process from enrolment to production for only fresh and re-issue passport applications.”
“Other categories of passport applications including change of data, replacement of damaged, lost/stolen passport and others shall continue to be processed at the Service Headquarters and other approved passport issuing authorities,” he said.
According to him, many of NIS officers had been dismissed, de-ranked and some were facing other disciplinary procedures for corrupt practices and loss of passport booklets.