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The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated steps to review the visa policy of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the passport policy introduced by the previous administration. The aim of this review is to reduce bottlenecks and alleviate the difficulties faced by individuals seeking Nigeria’s international passport.
Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made this known during a media briefing in Abuja. He revealed that a committee has been established, with the Permanent Secretary in the ministry serving as the chairman.
The committee also includes the Director of Joint Services as the secretary, as well as the Comptroller General of the NIS and other stakeholders.
Tunji-Ojo emphasized the importance of reviewing the current visa and passport policy, stating that Nigeria should not be treated as a second-rate country. He highlighted the principle of reciprocity in visa issuance, which is followed globally.
The minister expressed concerns about the visa-on-arrival policy, stating that it is unfair for individuals who restrict Nigerian citizens from entering their countries to enjoy visa-on-arrival privileges in Nigeria.
The committee has been given a two-week deadline to submit its report, which will guide the government in reviewing the policy.
The minister also provided an update on the clearance of the passport backlog, stating that the backlog of 204,332 passport applications has been successfully cleared by October 1.
He acknowledged that the initial target was to clear the backlog within two weeks and apologized for the three-week delay.
Tunji-Ojo further emphasized that obtaining a passport is a right of every Nigerian and should not be considered a privilege. He reassured the public that the government is committed to ensuring the rights of Nigerians are upheld.
Additionally, he condemned the collection of a N5,000 compliance fee from passport applicants by immigration officials, describing it as illegal and urging affected individuals to report such incidents to his office.
This article was updated 2 months ago