The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, says he is committed to clearing the backlog of passport applications and issuance latest May 31, emphasising that the Nigerian passport is the strongest instrument of Sovereignty, Nationality and Citizenship.
The Minister stated this when he received the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Management Staff of the Commission in Abuja.
Aregbesola explained that the Ministry of Interior has introduced sweeping reforms as it concerns passport application and issuance.
He stressed that a regime of not more than 72 Hours Express Passport Processing is underway.
According to the Minister: “Whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonafide Citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect.”
On Managed Migration, the Interior Minister promised to work with strategic agencies to see that Migration is profitable to the migrant and to the country of stay and homeland.
The Minister also applauded NIDCOM for her giant strides so far, describing the Commission as “a veritable tool for strong and worthy engagement with the Nigerian Diaspora”.
On the issue of historic African diaspora whose forefathers were taken away as slaves and who had done their DNA, which identified them as Nigerians and requesting Nigerian citizenship, Aregbesola said the issue would be looked at holistically.
On her part, Dabiri-Erewa commended the Minister’s effort in making passport application and issuance seamless as well as the 10-year validity period as first of its kind in Nigeria.
The NIDCOM Boss said: “This is cheering news for Nigerians in the Diaspora as they need not bother to renew their passport for 10 years.”
She said the COVID-19 restrictions, which hampered issuance of passports to Nigerians abroad, affected a lot of them in different ways and commended the Ministry for measures taken to clear the backlog, while informing the Minister of the setting up of Diaspora focal offices in 33 states of the federation.
The NIDCOM Boss also sought the participation of the Ministry in some programmes and engagements with Nigerians in the Diaspora, which include: National Diaspora Day Celebrations, Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit and Quarterly Diaspora Lecture Series.