The International Passport Office in Ikeja, Lagos, has begun operations on Saturdays and Sundays to meet rising demand by applicants.
Mrs Rose Bukar, its new Passport Control Officer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday that the extra duty was to speed-up service delivery to applicants
She said the NIS aims to spend less time processing fresh passport applications, adding that initiatives that would ensure smooth and fast service to Nigerians will be introduced.
“We want to ensure that applicants spend lesser time in processing passports. We shall also continue to initiate measures that will enhance smooth and fast service to Nigerians,” she said.
“This weekend, we witnessed an unexpected turn-up of applicants, but we paid special attention to the vulnerable one.
“The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has introduced some special compassionate measures for the vulnerable, especially those with health challenges, the elderly, the heavily pregnant, and those living with disabilities.
“In the last seven days, about 800 passports were produced. I am optimistic that with more capturing devices, the queue will gradually diminish.”
Bukar said the Lagos passport office has reached “a state of equilibrium” on the backlog of passport applications.
She disclosed that the office has cleared all the passport applications submitted in September.
“The office has cleared passport applications up to those submitted in September,” she added.
“But, I want Nigerians to understand that application for a fresh passport requires a minimum of six weeks; those seeking to refresh will have to give us three weeks.
“The Nigerian passport is the security architecture of the person holding it; there is no shortcut to these security checks. All Nigerians should take note of this.”
Newsonspot blog gathered that in October, the agency said 13,800 passports were yet to be collected at the Lagos passport command.