The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has revealed that approximately 97,000 passport booklets issued remain uncollected in all 36 states across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, the Service Public Relations Officer (SPRO), Comptroller of Immigration Mr. Tony Akuneme, disclosed this information. Akuneme further stated that the recent discovery indicated that Lagos State accounted for half of the uncollected passports.

He expressed concern over the difficulty in reaching out to the owners of these uncollected passports due to a lack of proper documentation caused by third-party involvement. Akuneme explained that many individuals had enlisted the help of agents for their passport processing, but these agents often provided incorrect contact information, thereby impeding the efforts to inform the owners when their passports were ready for collection. This, he emphasized, posed a significant challenge.

Recently, the Acting Comptroller General of NIS, Mrs. Caroline Adepoju, declared a state of emergency on passport-related matters throughout the country, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Akuneme also mentioned that the service had identified that most of the applicants’ complaints were related to human factors and technical issues, including slow internet speed. He emphasized that the CG’s focus on passport reforms and staff welfare was intended to address these concerns.

Regarding the expansion of passport services in Lagos State, Akuneme stated that the state governor had expressed willingness to collaborate with the CG. They sought the governor’s support in providing office space for the establishment of front desk offices. The governor responded positively, recognizing the significance of immigration services for tourists visiting the state. This positive development was evident in the governor’s approval of land allocation for the construction of staff quarters in Lagos.

Akuneme emphasized the importance of the media in dispelling the misconception that there was a shortage of passport booklets. He clarified that the issue lay in the increasing number of Nigerians desiring to travel, particularly in the past year or two, which he believed was partly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assuring the public, Akuneme stated that the NIS would promptly address the challenges associated with passport issuance nationwide by implementing additional facilities to streamline the process.


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