Tunji-Ojo and challenges in relation to NIN, passports

Within five months of his assumption of office as Minister of Interior, Mr Olubunmi Ojo has deservedly earned plaudits as one of the high-flying, action-oriented and result-driven members of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Federal Executive Council.

In particular, the minister has been widely admired for the speed and sense of urgency within which the backlog of over 240,000 passports stuck at the National Immigration Service (NIS) on his assumption of office had been cleared after he had given the officers in charge a two-week deadline to do so.

This feat showed that achieving results and overcoming bureaucratic bottlenecks to meet specific deadlines and promote efficiency is no rocket science, with dedicated and competent leaders at the head of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

However, despite this commendable attainment which has been the hallmark of Mr Olubunmi-Ojo’s flying start to his assignment, there are some members of the public who reportedly still experience avoidable delays in the processing and issuance of their passports. Even though such persons may now obviously be a distinct minority of those requesting for passports, the aim of the NIS must be to attain 100 percent efficiency in the issuance of the critical document, such that the agency cannot be blamed for those who fail to collect the passports within specified deadlines.

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A report indicates that whatever delays currently experienced by some persons in the processing, issuance and collection of their passports is due to “discrepancies” in the information provided by applicants, particularly with reference to their National Identification Number (NIN). Sources within the NIS were quoted as saying that applications with inaccessible identification numbers cannot be integrated into the system, resulting into delays in issuing and processing. Perhaps a key factor responsible for this is the reported transfer of the NIS from the Ministry of Communications to the Ministry of Interior and the attendant organisational transition problems involved in the integration and merger of new systems.

It has thus become imperative that the process of acceleration and integration of technological architecture involved in the passport administration and management mechanism be expedited to remove any glitches, especially with regard to the NIN, and the need to ensure accuracy of their NIN before submitting their applications for processing.

Another problem, according to the spokesman of the NIS, DCI Aridegbe Adedotun, responding to inquiries from the newspaper, is that some applicants allegedly fail to pick up their passports for months after processing and ready for issuance even when the passports are ready for collection within three or four days.

We suggest that NIS should reach such applicants through phone calls or text messages to come forward to collect their passports. In cases where the applicants are deceased, for instance, it may be necessary for such applicants’ passports to be destroyed so that they don’t get into wrong hands.

Overall, there is no doubt that there has been a marked improvement in the passport application, production and issuance processes under Mr Olubunmi- Ojo; everything should be done to sustain the tempo and continually improve on current attainments so that there is no regression to the inefficiencies and incompetence of the past.

2 Responses

  1. HM Olubunmi Tunji-ojo has really simplified governance by end of December makes it his 4th month in office and he has achieved more than all the regimes passed

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