Mr. Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), has postponed the start of the new passport regime till June 1st.
Mr. Amos Okpu, the agency’s spokesman, made the announcement in an Abuja statement on Tuesday.
All new passport applications will be accepted and processed until June 1, according to the service.
The suspension was put in place to enable the processing of all passport applications received prior to May 17, with all backlogs expected to be cleared by May 31.
Babandede wants to let the public know, particularly passport applicants, that the Service has made substantial progress in clearing the backlog of passport applications.
“A total of 230,500 applications have been processed and passports issued thus far. A total of 43,350 have yet to be collected.
Okpu added, “Passport Control Officers have been asked to continue sending out short message alerts for collection to all applicants.”
The Immigration head also ordered that details of all uncollected passports be posted on the service website www.immigration.gov.ng for public scrutiny.
The purpose of the extension is to eliminate all backlogs in passport applications across all issuing centers.
“A large number of applicants have already arrived at Issuing Centers to acquire their passports, causing considerable delays.
“ Due to the current circumstance, the Service will be unable to accept new applications, especially given our wish to ensure that all visitors to our offices adhere to all COVID-19 Protocols.
“This period will be used to attend to collection applications, remove all remaining backlogs, and increase system automation in preparation for the start of the new Passport regime on June 8,” he explained.