As part of efforts to improve the process of issuance and collection of passports, the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has introduced passport tracking system among other measures.
With the tracking system, applicants can now trace the status of their passports from the comfort of their homes.
The Acting Comptroller General of the NIS, Isah Jere Idris, made this known during an interactive session with journalists on Saturday.
He explained that with the tracking system, applicants could trace the status of their passports from the comfort of their homes.
“What applicants just need to do is to log on to www.trackimmigration.gov.ng and upload their details. This system is already in place and Nigerians should take advantage of it,” he said.
Other measures have to do with the validation of the National Identification Number, Expedited Passport Issuance, Alert System and Increased Front Offices.
Idris disclosed that within the next four weeks, NIS would deploy a new system that would enable applicants to validate their national identity numbers before they could proceed to make payment for passports online and to book appointments for capturing.
Said he: “Most delays are usually caused by the NIN validation problems and what we want to do now will allow individual applicants to first of all verify and validate their NIN, and only upload validated NIN before they can pay for passports.
“By doing that, we would have successfully tackled the issue of delay from other partners which we don’t have control over.”
He also explained that in order to expedite issuance of passports, for genuine medical reasons and other exceptional emergencies NIS would override appointments for applicants.
Another measure being put in place, according to the NIS boss, is the introduction of alert system.
With the system, he said, “Just like the driver licences, NIS is planning to introduce an alert system as soon as passports have about six months to expire. This is how much we are introducing technology to ease the stress.”
He added that another major step taken to improve the issuance of passport is the opening of more passport offices across the country.
He said already, one had been opened in Sagamu, Ogun State, while more would still be opened in Ilesa in Osun State, Oyo town in Oyo State, Daura in Katsina State, and Zaria in Kaduna State, among others.
Idris also spoke about efforts being made to ensure that those in the Diaspora do not suffer.
According to him, booklets were being shared both locally and to the embassies of Nigeria globally so that the Nigerians in Diaspora could also be attended to.
He, however, complained that access to forex had been difficult for the company handling the passport production project, and that the company only sourced for forex from markets like other businesses and that the process had been cumbersome and discouraging.
Meanwhile, efforts have begun in earnest to ensure the domestication of passport production.
Idris said President Muhammadu Buhari had given a directive to that effect and work was already going on.
One major advantage of the move, the NIS boss said, was increase in job opportunities for Nigerians, thereby improving the economy of the country.
He also spoke on the efforts being made to improve border security.
Describing the Nigerian borders as massive, he said the NIS would continue to appeal to the government for necessary support to ensure effective monitoring.
“It is increasingly difficult for us to adequately man the border lines. That is why we have continued to appeal to the government to increase our budgetary allocations and also grant us approval for recruitments to reinforce the workforce. We thank the President and the team for the approval and the recruitment we carried out in 2021, but the reality is that we need more personnel to achieve effective border management and control,” he said.
He said some of the measures to improve border security and arrest the influx of illegal migrants in the country included the use of modern technology, increase in border patrol and raids.
He said apart from the increase in border patrol, his men carried out raids regularly with many irregular residents in Nigeria regularly picked up and eased out.