The Minister for Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has promised that acquiring a Nigerian passport will be an easy process and a source of pride for Nigerians both home and abroad.
The Minister gave the assurance at a webinar lecture organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission on Tuesday.
The lecture was titled: “New Passport Policy/Processes for Nigerians in the Diaspora.”
Tunji-Ojo revealed that the Ministry of Interior in collaboration with the Nigeria Immigration Service was set to launch a contactless biometric passport application come March 8.
He explained that the initiative is aimed at reducing the stress and challenges being faced by Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora, in acquiring their passport.
According to the Minister, human interface brings about corruption, abuse and frustration.
He said as such, the initiative is aimed at reducing human interface in all forms.
Tunji-Ojo said: “The pride of we Nigerians is our passport and it must not be what people will go through hell to waste money, energy, and resources before being able to acquire.
“The whole idea is to make sure Nigerians don’t travel with their families to nations or long distances just to acquire passports.
“This will offer Nigerians in Diaspora greater convenience in applying for their passport at fingertips.
“It will reduce processing time, enhance security and as well ensure travelling with peace of mind.”
The Minister added that the contactless biometric will only be applicable for renewal.
Tunji-Ojo said: “Once you want to renew your passport, all you need to do is apply online, capture your fingerprint and biometric features using our contact-less application that will be on the system.
“Then the system synchronises and automatically exchanges with our database for confirmation of your identity.
“Once the two correspond, you have finished the whole process online without coming to any office.
“We will produce your passport and courier it to you.”
Similarly, the Minister revealed that efforts have been made to install an E-Gate at the various international airports across the country.
The E-Gate was initiated to ensure that Nigerians don’t have to go through a series of checks or questioning with immigration officers when returning to the country.
Tunji-Ojo said: “The whole idea is for you not to stamp anymore.
“You are coming back to your country for crying out loud.
“When you’re not a person of interest, once you come, you put your passport and look into the camera and we’ll record that you’re back in your fatherland.
“Nobody needs to ask you any questions.
“You are coming to your home.”
In her remarks, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the Minister for the laudable achievements and continued support for the communities of Nigerians in the diaspora.