The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola says he is committed to clearing the backlog of Passport applications and issuance latest May 31st, emphasising that the Nigerian Passport is the strongest instrument of Sovereignty, Nationality and Citizenship .
NiDCOM in a statement issued on Thursday by Gabriel Odu of its Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit said the Minister stated this when he received the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Management Staff of the Commission in Abuja.
Mr Aregbesola explained that the Ministry of Interior has introduced sweeping reforms as it concerns passport application and issuance. He stressed that a regime of not more than 72 Hours Express Passport Processing is underway , According to the Minister, “whoever holds a Nigerian Passport is a bonifade Citizen who must be treated with dignity and respect””.
On Managed Migration, the Interior Minister promised to work with strategic agencies to see that Migration is profitable to the migrant and to the country of stay and homeland. The Minister also applauded NIDCOM for her giant strides so far describing the Commission as, “a veritable tool for strong and worthy engagement with the Nigerian Diaspora.”
On the issue of historic African diaspora whose forefathers were taken away as slaves , and who had done their DNA which identified them as Nigerians and who are requesting Nigerian citizenship , the Minister said the issue would be looked at wholistically
On her part, the Chairman/CEO NIDCOM Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa commeded the Minister’s effort in making the passport application and issuance seamless as well as the Ten Year Validity period as first of its kind in Nigeria.The NIDCOM Boss said, “this is cheering news for Nigerians in the Diaspora as they need not bother to renew their passport for ten years “
She said the Covid 19 restrictions which hampered issuance of passports to Nigerians abroad affected a lot of them in different ways and commended the Ministry for measures taken to clear the backlog
While informing the minister of the setting up of Diaspora focal offices in 33 states of the federation ,the
NIDCOM Boss also sought the participation of the Ministry in some programs and engagements with Nigerians in the Diaspora which include: National Diaspora Day Celebrations, Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit, Quarterly Diaspora Lecture Series, among others.