From Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has extended by one week the collection of the backlog of about 45,280 passports lying in its offices nationwide.
It also announced the suspension of activities in the Abia State passport office due to the fire incident ignited by hoodlums, recently.
NIS Comptroller General (CG) Muhammad Babandede, who made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja, pointed out that the extension would not in any way affect the June 1 deadline for commencement of the new passport regime.
According to him, the passports that are ready for collection could not be dispatched via post to avoid the documents falling into wrong hands, stressing that bulk messages have been sent to the owners to come for collection.
The Immigration CG said all commands of the Service have been directed to beef up security in their various formations and work with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to forestall the breakdown of law and order in the country.
Last month, CGI Babandede announced the suspension of receipt and processing of all fresh Passport applications nationwide till June 1 when the new Passport regime would have taken effect.
He said the suspension of receipt and processing of fresh passport applications was to allow for clearance of every Passport application that was received before May 17, adding that a Task Force supervised by ACGs, would be sent to Passport offices to clear the backlog.
CGI Babandede further stated that the new passport regime was expected to commence on June 1, and has a delivery period of six weeks from the date of submission of applications if there is no local objection (if all documents are complete).