The Federal Government says it has concluded plans to open passport front offices in some major cities across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales), in 3 months (February 2024).
This might not be unconnected to complaints and frustration expressed by Nigerians in diaspora over the slow process in their passport renewal and collection process.
This was made known by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, where he addressed the concerns of Nigerians in the diaspora over difficulties renewing their passports at foreign missions.
Tunji-Ojo said, “I think there are only two places where we have this challenge now, realistically. I think in the UK, precisely, London and in the US — precisely, in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians.’’
Zeroing in on the UK, where several viral cases have been recorded, he argued the only solution was to open passport front offices in key cities by February 2024.
The minister said, “There is no quick fix. But we have assured Nigerians that by February next year, we would have opened our front offices such that we’ll have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales, and Scotland.’
“So, once we have this, definitely, it will reduce the stress of Nigerians, it will reduce the waiting period, and of course, it will bring efficiency into the whole passport procurement system.”
Tunji-Ojo explained that the problem existed “because we have only one passport office in the entire United Kingdom, adding that Nigerians living in far-flung cities such as Edinburg (Scotland), Cardiff, and Belfast (North Ireland) as well as Manchester or Birmingham had no choice but to travel to London for their new passports.
He stated that it was important to investigate the capacity that the immigration office can take in a day and how many people are asking for passports, noting that there were “hundreds of thousands of Nigerians resident in this country.
Recall that last month, Tunji-Ojo had hinted that the Ministry of Interior had put plans in place and working with several agencies abroad to ensure that several passport offices are opened around the country, as well as abroad, to ensure a seamless passport collection process for Nigerians at home and in diaspora.
He also said that the creation of multiple offices will make for an easier process of passport requests and collections, which will reduce the demand of passports, and will in turn, reduce the corruption in which people exploit Nigerians in order to get passports for them.
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