Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, has clarified the rationale behind the introduction of new requirements for obtaining or renewing Nigeria’s international passports. The move aims to safeguard the nation’s vital documents from non-citizens, as non-Nigerians were found to be predominantly in possession of Nigerian passports. The minister addressed reports of foreigners exploiting inefficiencies in the previous system and emphasized that the new conditions are designed to prevent non-Nigerians from acquiring passports.
In a statement by his media aide, Babatunde Alao, Dr. Tunji-Ojo acknowledged the challenges faced by passport applicants and assured that improvements to the process would be implemented in the coming weeks. The new conditions, including the submission of a citizenship certificate, date of birth certificate, and the National Identification Number (NIN), are deemed crucial for verifying the true citizenship of applicants.
The minister stressed that the reform aims to streamline the passport acquisition process for Nigerians, facilitating swift online application, production, and passport collection. Contrary to misconceptions, Dr. Tunji-Ojo asserted that the new system has shown effectiveness, with only a four percent hiccup rate, marking a significant improvement for a recently introduced system. He underscored the necessity of the new measures to prevent non-Nigerians from possessing Nigerian passports.