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FG clarifies new conditions for passport acquisition, renewal

The Federal Government has clarified that the new conditions introduced as prerequisites for obtaining or renewing international passports were instituted to curb the acquisition of Nigerian passports by non-citizens.

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who stated this in Abuja while responding to questions from the media, emphasised that the passport is a security document exclusive to Nigerian citizens.

The new conditions, including the provision of a citizenship certificate, a date of birth certificate, and the National Identification Number (NIN), have become critical in verifying an applicant’s true citizenship.

He explained the rationale behind the Federal Government’s introduction of new prerequisites for obtaining or renewing international passports, noting that the new conditions would prevent non-Nigerians from acquiring the passport, disclosing that foreigners have exploited the inefficiencies of the previous system.

The Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Minister, Babatunde Alao, said in a statement on Wednesday that Tunji-Ojo acknowledged challenges being faced by new passport applicants, assuring the public of an enhanced process in the coming weeks.

Speaking further on the motive behind the introduction of the new processes, Tunji-Ojo said the reform was aimed at simplifying the passport acquisition process for Nigerians by facilitating speedy online application, production, and passport collection.

“We have to introduce this new system in order to stop those non-Nigerians carrying Nigerian passports. Contrary to reports, the new process is working very effectively, and the hiccups recorded are only four per cent, which is a significant improvement for a system that is newly introduced, and I assure you that in the next one or two weeks we will have a near-perfect system.

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“We have to improve our process of obtaining passports because a passport is a security document. This new system has improved accessibility, transparency, and efficiency,” the minister stated.

Looking ahead, the Minister outlined plans for contactless biometrics in passport renewal, affirming the government’s commitment to building a better future for Nigerians at home and in the diaspora.

Speaking on the observable change in cost for the five-year passport, the Minister, however, noted that the new cost was agreed upon, taking a cue from the cost of the 10-year passport.

“We are building a future for Nigerians where things should be done in a better way. We changed the price of the five-year passport because the 10-year passport is N70,000; so, the one for five years should be half of that amount, which is N35,000. We are committed to making things better in our country,” the minister said.

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