Unraveling Passport Issuance Delays: How Unseen Players Dictate Narratives

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Nigerian passport

The intricately woven partnerships delaying passport issuance require thorough investigation to address ongoing delays faced by applicants. Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olabunmi Tunji-Ojo, repeatedly emphasizes specific time frames for passport processing. Passport applications, both new and renewal, demand up to 6 weeks and 3 weeks respectively post-biometric enrollment.

Contrary to popular belief, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) isn’t solely responsible for passport production. Technical partners, such as Newworks Solutions and Iris Smart Technologies Limited, contribute significantly to production, causing occasional delays.

Funny enough that the immigration Service is thrown under the bus every time there are issues with passport production even by the Interior Minister, Tunji-Ojo despite knowing how tied their hands are is however disheartening and a demotivator to the officers.

Sources attribute major delays to the third party service providers due to the hold they have on the immigration operations without taking any blame for the outcomes.

Passport booklets are manufactured in Malaysia, necessitating foreign exchange which Nigeria lacks, contributing to delays. Investigations reveal delays stem from various factors, including screening, profiling, and data acquisition processes.

“There are non-Nigerians that try to acquire our passports, we try to weed them out. Passports may be delayed because Immigration is not satisfied with the citizenry’s origin and this falls under our purview. Even after payment this can cause a delay from the NIS.” A source told NigerianFLIGHTDECK.

Newwork Solutions manages the Immigration website and handles payments, but issues post-application require their intervention, causing frustration. Iris Smart Technologies Limited handles technical glitches, such as Passport in Perso (PIP) issues, further prolonging delays.

A source claims,” With all these partnerships the NIS gets less than 20% of the monies charged for the passports while technical partners make over 80% and yet the NIS is still the one that takes the blame when these partners delay passports or when there are backlogs.

“ The NIS doesn’t make the booklet, in fact, that is done in Malaysia with both data and booklets. And I do not want to go into the security ramifications for our data being utilized out of our country.”

Despite challenges, some advocate for a review of existing partnerships, emphasizing the imbalance in revenue distribution and security concerns. Proposed domestication of passport processing could mitigate these challenges.

However, terminating contracts, like that with Iris Smart Technologies Limited, may incur significant costs.

The House of Representatives which warned against terminating a contract signed with Iris Smart Technologies Limited cited a N22billion cost to the government.

A renewed agreement between Iris Smart Technologies Limited and Nigeria in April 2015, stated in Article 4:0 that the duration of the contract shall be for the delivery of an additional 10 million passport booklets. These existing agreements prioritizing the delivery of additional passport booklets, complicates the situation further.

Rising exchange rates exacerbate the situation, hindering local production of passport booklets. Despite challenges, security concerns justify current production practices.

In conclusion, addressing passport delays requires a comprehensive approach, considering both operational and financial aspects, to ensure efficient and secure issuance processes.

 

 

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