Over 107,000 Produced Passports Yet To Be Collected Says Interior Minister

The Minister of Interior, Mr. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo says “if you have applied for passports, please go and pick your passports. We have over 107,000 passports that have been produced and applicants have not picked them up.”

The Minister said the government is committed to control and security of all borders including the air border.

“We have completed the whole solution but when we came onboard, we realized that the NIS, the data center was not really there. We were leveraging on a private company data centre and we appreciate them for that assistance. We think that it is better to create a permanent solution to problems rather than quick fixes. We could have done it in February but we had to build our data centre from scratch to be able to keep the integrity of our data and national security intact. This is more important. It is about national security and I can assure you that we completed the data centre which is one of the biggest in Nigeria. It is comparable with anyone you can find anywhere in the world. The command and control centre which we have built, even IATA came to Nigeria and say this is comparable to even the best in the world. We believe under renewed hope administration that Nigerians deserve what is best and what can be compared all over the world. So, we have built the data centre, sorted the passport delivery solution and done the final presentation in terms of technology deliverables and the tracking solution which will all be embedded in the application we have, so we don’t create multiple lines of failure. We have done all these and by June, we should be able to start. We will not start from everywhere because if you overload the system, you can cause a system damage. So, we would start home delivery for Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja. For the diaspora, the U.S and the UK. We would first test it and see that it works. It is disgraceful that NIS is 61 years old and NIS is a custodian of biometric data of Nigeria and we believe that NIS should be in charge of the data of Nigeria. It is not acceptable that this data is domiciled in a third party and that is why we have been able to do this. The final presentation of the e-visa was done today which we have seen and which will reduce the visa processing time from 72 hours to 48 hours and make it easier. The passport automation process is almost complete,” he explained.

He further said the “Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja is already 100 percent complete but this is just one terminal of about eight gates. This is delivered and ready for commissioning. Lagos has three wings. This is Terminal 2. We have the D and E wing. Now you see that the gates have been installed. What they are doing now is called the User Acceptance Test (UAT) which is the last stage and by Monday morning, this wing will have been completed 100 percent. As it is, it is already installed. So, we just need to align the sensor. From here, we will move to the D Wing which has four gates because we can’t block the three entrances at the same time. We can’t work simultaneously because of ease of passengers. So, we have to be taking one after the other. The assurance we have is that by next weekend, the D Wing will have been fully completed. We will then be left with the E wing which has eight gates. This may take us another maximum of two weeks. In the next three weeks from now, Lagos will be 100 percent good to go. Then we will move to other airports like Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt which each has four gates. This will be faster. Lagos airport alone has 21 gates. Lagos is where you have the major traffic.”

He added that the electronic fares are important because of the enhancement of national security. “This is connected to all the data bases all over the world. We are making life easier for Nigeria and at the same time securing the country. The passengers get more comfortable and it’s more convenient but at the same time, the nation is secured,” said Tunji-Ojo.


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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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