To address the scarcity gap in Nigerian international passport, the Federal Government has inaugurated a new passport office in Lagos.

The Lagos neighbourhood of Alimosho welcomed the opening of a passport front office on Monday by Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola.

The office was built by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to make the application, processing, and collection of the Nigerian international passport even easier.

Aregbesola said no fewer than 14 new passport front offices would be constructed in Lagos because the state accounts for 50% of all applications nationwide in a statement from Anthony Akuneme, NIS Public Relations Officer.

Speaking further on the significance, the minister said the office will “address shortage gap” and decongest traffic at the Ikoyi, Festac and Alausa centres, adding that the federal government may consider a public-private partnership arrangement for more passport front offices in the state.

“We certainly need more of this in Lagos. This is because half of all passport applications are made in Lagos. At no time are less than 100,000 applicants from Lagos on the NIS portal applying for passports,” he said.

“We will therefore need not less than 15 of these front offices in Lagos alone, to be able to cut the application waiting period to one week.

“Due to funding constraints, the government might consider public-private partnership arrangement to set up more passport front offices as part of other steps to deal with the challenges in urban centres where applications for passports are unusually high.”

For his part, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Comptroller-General Jere Idris referred to the office as a “legacy project” that will deliver effective services to Lagos and the surrounding areas.

“There is a need to continue to expand the infrastructure like what we are doing here today,” he said.

“We are privileged to be witnessing the commissioning and take-off of this legacy project by the Honourable Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbosola, the purpose of which is to decongest traffic at the Ikoyi, Festac, and Alausa passport offices and bring services closer to indigenes of the largest local government area in Lagos state and its environs,” he added.

Idris warned that “the passport office remains a no-go-area for touts, passport racketeers, fake breeder documents harvesters and all sorts of undesirable elements”.

“I wish to warn that the long arm of the law and its full force will be visited on any person who by an act of commission or omission infringes on the passport offences as stipulated in section 10(1a-h) of the Immigration Act, 2015,” he said.

The event also featured the inauguration of the newly-constructed Lagos command headquarters of the NIS at the Alagbon close, Ikoyi.

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