Aregbesola Promises Effective Passport, Visa Service Delivery

The Nigeria Government is now determined to ensure efficient service delivery to all Nigerians at home and Diaspora, including foreigners, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said.

The minister made the promise last Monday while delivering a remark tagged: ‘Doing better through self- appraisal’, when he chaired the maiden edition of the quarterly performance review meeting of service providers engaged by the ministry and its agencies in Abuja.

Aregbesola said such review meetings availed the ministry the opportunity to evaluate the achievements and challenges of the service providers, vis-à-vis, its mandate, and thereby strategically helping them to work better, efficiently and fruitfully in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The minister said the focus of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is firmly fixed on the tripod of addressing insecurity in the country, fixing the economy and tackling corruption.

According to him, “As you are all aware, the Ministry of Interior is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining internal security and citizenship integrity.

“In order to achieve the mandate of the ministry, there is need to put in place well thought-out projects and programmes that will ensure effectiveness toward improving internal security and determine where we are on the delivery of internal security and other responsibilities.”

Aregbesola noted that some key performance indices from some of the service providers, including the Iris Smart Technology Limited, show that a total number of 1,487,000 passports booklets were delivered in 2020; Greater Washington Xpress in charge of Passport Address Verification revealed that out of the 1,563,104 addresses verified within the period under review, they were unable to locate 2,786 addresses, which accounts for about 0.18 percent of the total number of addresses validated; Networks Solution Limited, a service provider in the visa processing business, with operations in 22 locations around the world, revealed that despite the pandemic, it processed 84,948 visa applications in the period under review; another service provider, Anchor Dataware Solutions, revealed that a total of 23,552 marriage registration applications were received, with a total number of 459 places of worship registrations received.

The minister revealed that solutions were also proffered for the identified challenges, with a charge for improved performance, as he, therefore, charged some service providers that IRIS should do everything within its powers to ensure that passport production is not disrupted and scarcity eliminated; and that Thebes should ensure that the ease of doing business is not compromised while top notch customer service is delivered.

He said no person with unverified address would be issued passport, adding that address revalidation will be conducted periodically to protect the integrity of the Nigerian passport.

Aregbosola also handed down a policy directive that the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) would deactivate all passports with unverified address.

Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, commended the minister for the initiative designed to ensure the continuous improvement in quality services delivered by these service providers to both the Nigerian and international public.