Tayo AFOLABI 
 
 
The Nigeria Immigration Service has commenced preparations for the commencement of a new passport regime in the country.
 
To this end, the Service has suspended  processing new passport applications in all passport offices nationwide.
 
The suspension came into effect on Monday May 17.
 
In a statement the Deputy Comptroller General, AB Yarima, said, “This directive, which comes into effect from today(yesterday), May 17, 2021, has become necessary to allow enough time to clear all backlog of applications sequel to the commencement of the new passport regime on June 1, 2021.”
 
He added, “Consequent upon the foregoing, all PCOS are therefore directed to utilise this period, May 17, 2021, to May 31, 2021, to ensure that all backlogs are produced and handed over to command comptrollers for collection by members of the public concerned.”
 
Recall, last April, the House of Representatives urged the NIS to, within 72 hours, issue passports to Nigerians who fulfilled all requirements.
 
This was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Ugonna Ozurigbo at a plenary. 
 
Moving the motion earlier, Mr Ozurigbo said thousands of Nigerians who paid for the passport were yet to be issued the booklet.
 
“I am aware of the persistent scarcity of the passport booklets at most Nigeria Immigration Service offices and some of the nation’s foreign embassies.
 
“I am concerned that most Nigerians who have applied for passports and fulfilled all the requirements are constrained to wait endlessly for the booklet, which ordinarily takes less than 48 hours to be issued.
 
“This situation is causing untold hardship on Nigerians with the urgent need to travel out of the country,” he said.
 
The interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola, had in April, announced that Nigerians would soon obtain their passports from various local government areas

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