The Minister of Interior, Hon. (DR) Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has confirmed the clearance of almost 60,000 passport backlogs within four working day.
This is consequent on the directives given to the agency last week Thursday by the minister, to clear all pending passport applications.
The Minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, on a courtesy call.
According Dr Betta Edu, the visitation was informed by the need to extend its hand of partnership to collaborate with the ministry as it seeks to drastically reduce human trafficking and other related challenges including poor veterans’ welfare, underemployment and poverty amongst citizens.
Dr Betta Edu noted that the ministry was in the best position to solve issues of human trafficking as it plays a supervisory role on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Reacting to the Minister’s bid, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo noted that the ministry would always welcome such initiative as it goes in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s #RenewedHope Agenda.
He said: “His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed us to see the place of partnership as agents of his #RenewedHope Agenda, and we are here to deliver on this mandate.
“We assure you of our support. Your initiative is progressive and commendable, especially at this crucial time in the history of our country. There is a lot of work to be done, and we cannot work in silos as the President has directed.
“Thank you Dr Betta Edu. We are not just working on humanitarian endeavours as human trafficking, our NIS must help us change the story, completely. When we came on board, the passport crisis was an embarrassment. And, we said: it cannot continue!
“As at this morning, I can tell you that about 60,000 passport backlogs have been cleared, specially 59,906. On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, when I gave the 2-week ultimatum, we had over 200,000 backlogs. We have recorded progress, and I maintain my words, those backlogs must be cleared.
“So, you can be assured that our ministry is ready to work with you on any solution we consider thoughtful and progressive like the ones you have shared. We may only have to expand it to include the welfare of inmates in our correctional homes as they are Nigerians as well. Let’s see how they can benefit from your welfare packages. Of course, there is a lot we can achieve together.”
In a similar engagement on Tuesday, the Minister of Interior also hosted his counterpart from the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Lola Ade-John.