The Minister of Interior Affairs, Rauf Aregbesola, Tuesday, disclosed that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) issued 3 million passports to Nigerians within three years.
He said the 3 million passports were issued to Nigerians between 2019 and 2022.
Aregbesola, however, warned NIS personnel against extorting Nigerians and hoarding passports to create an undue scarcity in the system.
The minister spoke at the launch of the enhanced e-Passport in Benin, Asaba and Warri passport offices and the inauguration of the passport production centre at the Benin Passport Office, Edo State command, according to Daily Sun.
He stated, “It will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, as difficult as that era, the Nigeria Immigration Service has issued over 3 million passports to Nigerians. It is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“Last year alone, 1.3 million passports were issued. Also, last time I checked, over 250,000 passports remained uncollected by applicants.”
He assured Nigerians that the era of exploiting applicants seeking to get passports was over, warning that any officer caught doing that will be made to face the music.
“Whoever disregards any Nigerian, whoever exploits any Nigerian in their quest to get this document will be dealt with personally by me. This is the last time I am going to warn,” he said.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari is not happy about how Nigerians are being denied passports, stressing that with the enhanced e-Passport, the situation will greatly improve.
Aregbesola explained that setting up the office in Benin City is due to the high demand for the passports in Edo and Delta states, maintaining that Edo ranks next to Lagos State in terms of demands.
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, thanked the federal government for setting up the office in the state, adding that it will ease the stress of getting passports in the state.