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PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : February 29th, 2024

HRM Oba Abimbola Akile Balogun Commends Minister of Interior and Nigerian Immigration Service for Introducing Contactless Passport Technology

In a recent statement, the Oba of Dallas, His Royal Majesty, (HRM) Oba Abimbola Akile Balogun has expressed commendations towards the Federal Minister of Interior, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, and the Nigerian Immigration Services for their initiative to implement contactless technology for international passport applications for diasporans. This views came ahead of the preparation for the anticipated launch of the system on March 8, 2024.

Oba Akile’s statement said, in his interaction with some stakeholders he was was able to confirm that “the introduction of contactless technology aims to streamline and enhance the passport application process for Nigerians in diaspora, making it more convenient and efficient for Nigerian citizens to access their passports easily”.

By adopting this advanced technology, applicants home and abroad will experience faster processing times and reduced physical contact during the application process, this aligns with global trends in digitalization and modernization” Oba Akile said.

The US based traditional ruler emphasized the importance of embracing innovative solutions to improve public services, especially in critical areas such as immigration and passport issuance. He lauded the efforts of the Tinubu led government, dedication of the Minister of Interior and the Nigerian Immigration Service for their commitment to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of passport services in the country.

While assuring Nigerians living abroad of the sincerity of the government in this regard, the Ijebu-born leader of Iga Okun-Ade Yoruba African Community assured that “the implementation of contactless technology reflects Nigeria’s commitment to leveraging digital solutions to enhance security and convenience for its citizens and visitors. The system is expected to enhance the integrity of passport issuance processes, reduce the risk of identity theft, and improve overall service delivery.”

The government’s proactive approach towards embracing technological advancements is a testament to its commitment to modernizing public services and enhancing the overall experience for citizens and visitors alike”.

Push News 24 International reports that as the March 8, 2024 launch date approaches, anticipation builds among citizens and stakeholders eager to experience the benefits of the new contactless passport application system.

With a thriving environment for racketeering, process for obtaining the Nigerian passport has turned the booklet into a hire purchase document where applicants pay official cost at point of application, connoting preliminary down payment. This is the practice nationwide. Applicants who fail to comply with this process risk delayed services characterised by uncertainty, except for Very Important Persons, VIP,  and those with direct contact with top officials of NIS who enjoy some level of waivers exempting them from any form of bargains. Despite this, a balance sum is made as gift at the end of the exercise to the facilitating official in appreciation, but at the discretion of the applicant.

Sadly, some of these NIS officials have also extended these unethical practices to foreigners and the country’s missions abroad. As a government agency providing direct services to foreigners, NIS is the face of Nigeria.  How it carries out its activities and obligations rub off on the country’s image with implications on public perception. Its conduct can be used to gauge corruption in the course of passport, visa, work permit and expatriate quota issuance. The hire purchase process is embodied in two recognised methods of application, namely: online and physical through an NIS official. In the online, applicants are required to apply through dedicated portal on the internet where payment is made and appointment date assigned for biometric capture. Fixed date for collection is not known, and applicants need not contact NIS officials prior to application.  

After releasing royal blessings for the progress and development of Nigeria, HRM Oba Abimbola Akile Balogun’s commendation underscores the significance of the introduction of contactless passport technology and highlights the collaborative efforts between the government and relevant agencies to drive positive change and innovation in the country’s immigration processes.

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