…Delay on issuance and renewal of Nigeria International Passport by NIS causing untold hardship to Nigerians — Sen. Ekwunife
The Senate Committee on Interior is to urgently investigate the delay in the issuance and renewal of international passports by the Nigeria Immigration Service,(NIS).
The committee will turn in the report in two weeks.
The resolution of the upper legislative Chamber followed a motion which was sponsored by Senator Lilian Ekwunife representing Anambra Central Senatorial District at a plenary on Tuesday.
In her motion titled: “Delay on issuance and renewal of Nigeria International Passport”, by the Nigerian Immigration Service, the lawmaker said it has caused untold hardship to Nigerians, stressing that after payment, they don’t get services.
She explained that Nigerians travelling outside the country and those returning are facing frustration due to epileptic services of the NIS.
According to her, “International Passport is an official identity document, issued to Nigerians for the purpose of traveling out and into the country in exercise of their rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement.”
The delay, she said, was in contradiction to the six weeks period given by the Federal Government for the issuance of an International passport.
She stated that applicants spend three to six months before getting their International passport under the current Comptroller-General of NIS, insisting that this was unacceptable under any guise.
To get a biometric capturing, a process required, she revealed, takes five to eight weeks, after which applicants wait for four months or more to get the passport.
Ekwunife said that it has also become extremely difficult for passports to be processed across the entire Nigeria immigration offices in different states, especially Lagos, Abuja and Portharcourt.
She said: “The international students are also finding it very difficult to renew their passports to enable them to travel back to reunite with their families.”
Senator Geshom Bassey after seconding the motion reminded the Chamber that the issue of obtaining an International passport is a right.
Senator Biodun Olujimi from Ekiti and Adamu Bulkachuwa from Bauchi condemned the delay and difficulty being encountered in obtaining an International passport in Nigeria.
In his remark, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan referred the motion to the Committee on Interior for investigation.