FOLLOWING a directive by the Minister of Interior, Honourable Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has cleared over 60,000 passport backlogs within four working days.
Tunji-Ojo confirmed this on Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, on a courtesy call.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Interior, Alao Babatunde made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Recall that the Minister had on Thursday last week directed the Nigeria Immigration Service to clear all pending passport applications, about 200,000 backlogs, within two weeks.
Earlier, Dr Betta Edu, said the visit was informed by the need to extend its hand of partnership to collaborate with the Ministry of Interior as it seeks to drastically reduce human trafficking and other related challenges including poor veterans’ welfare, underemployment and poverty amongst citizens.
She added that the ministry was in the best position to solve issues of human trafficking as it plays a supervisory role in the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
In his response, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo noted that the ministry would always welcome such initiative as it goes in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s #RenewedHope Agenda.
He said: “His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed us to see the place of partnership as agents of his Renewed Hope Agenda, and we are here to deliver on this mandate.
“We assure you of our support. Your initiative is progressive and commendable, especially at this crucial time in the history of our country. There is a lot of work to be done, and we cannot work in silos as the President has directed.
“Thank you Dr Betta Edu. We are not just working on humanitarian endeavours such as human trafficking, our NIS must help us change the story, completely. When we came on board, the passport crisis was an embarrassment. And, we said: it cannot continue!
“As at this morning, I can tell you that about 60,000 passport backlogs have been cleared, especially 59,906. On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, when I gave the 2-week ultimatum, we had over 200,000 backlogs. We have recorded progress, and I maintain my words, those backlogs must be cleared.
“So, you can be assured that our ministry is ready to work with you on any solution we consider thoughtful and progressive like the ones you have shared. We may only have to expand it to include the welfare of inmates in our correctional homes as they are Nigerians as well. Let’s see how they can benefit from your welfare packages. Of course, there is a lot we can achieve together.”
In a similar engagement on Tuesday, the Minister of Interior also hosted his counterpart from the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Lola Ade-John.
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