Reps move to curb scarcity of passport booklets

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Disturbed by the scarcity of international passport booklet worldwide, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved that the Federal Government found ways to alleviate its scarcity.

To this end, the House at plenary, asked the Committee on Interior to liaise with the Ministry of Interior and the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, to determine the cause of the scarcity, recommend ways of reversing the trend and submit its report within three weeks for further legislative action, Vanguard reports.

The lawmakers also mandated the Committee on Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate the challenges in procuring the e-passport at Nigerian High Commissions and embassies and submit a report within two weeks for further legislative action.

This development was based on a motion promoted by Ayodeji Joseph, APC, Lagos, entitled: ‘Urgent Need to Address the Scarcity of Nigerian Passport Booklets.

In his submission, Ayodeji said: “ The acute shortage of Nigerian passport booklets in the recent time, which is causing a lot of hardships on citizens wishing to acquire passports, has led to long queues at immigration offices across the country and increased patronage of touts who hang around Immigration offices.

“All the components of the e-passport are manufactured abroad as evidenced in the production of the booklet in South Africa, the making of the chip by a Netherland-based company and lamination of the data page in Malaysia, before final delivery to Nigeria.”

“The scarcity started in 2016 when the company stopped supplying the 32-page passport booklet and demanded for an upward review of the price of the booklet, citing increased cost of production, due to the low exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar.

‘’The scarcity has persisted, despite assurances by the Nigerian Immigration Service that passport booklets are available.

“Series of complaints of lack of proper procedure for the procurement and renewal of passports at Nigeria’s High Commissions and embassies abroad as well as discourtesy and inefficiency of staff of those missions, which are giving the country a bad image, need to be looked into.’’

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