By Yahaya Isah
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has unveiled the new enhanced Nigerian passport and its office in Canada.
Aregbesola who inaugurated the central Passport Production Centre in Ottawa, Canada, said Nigerians living in Canada will now have access to the highly coveted 64-page 10-year validity passport.
He explained saying “The enhanced version we are presenting is the latest technology in identity documentation.
“It comes with additional security and in various categories, including the 64-page-10-year validity passport which is quite convenient for frequent travellers.
“It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance. Only very few countries in the world can boast of it today.
“Indeed, Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world and the first in Africa to have this enhanced e-passport,” he said.
The minister commended the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada for his commitment towards ensuring that Canada had its passport production centre.
“It is important that all applicants go through the NIS portal and follow the protocol laid down, pay the right fee and go for biometric data capture on the stipulated date.
“The waiting period after data capture for fresh application is six weeks and three weeks for renewal.
“This timeline is to enable NIS to verify and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued. It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by the global standard.”
According to him, it is important also that applicants’ NIN sync with the data on their applications.
“We have introduced a tracking mechanism in the application process to enable applicants to monitor the progress of their application.
“We shall continue to introduce necessary and available innovations to passport administration to best serve applicants in our quest for establishing citizenship integrity”, the minister added.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner commended Aregbesola and the acting Comptroller-General of NIS, Isah Jere, for the inauguration of the enhanced passport in Canada.
“I will advise that Nigerians living in Canada should apply for the 64-page 10-year validity and you can apply at least one year before the expiration of the current passport,” Asekun said.
Earlier, Jere said the passport desk in Canada would continue to issue the regular and enhanced passports concurrently.
He said that this would continue until “when all our centres would have been fully migrated to the enhanced e-passport.”
The NIS Comptroller-General pledged that the service would tackle delays in processing passports, provided applicants abide strictly by laid down guidelines.
Jere advised applicants to make use of the NIS online application and payment platform, and synchronise the data on their passport application with the information in their NIN document.