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Automation of passport application to go live in one week – Interior Minister

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The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, says the promised automation of the passport application process will begin “in the next one week”.

Tunji-Ojo first gave the assurance to Nigerians in an October 4 interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, saying citizens would be able to use the feature from December.

He made an appearance again on the programme on Tuesday, Nov. 28, to disclose that the technology was “99 percent done”.

He said: “In fact, we’ve done the testing and we should be going live in the next one week or thereabout. As I said, that will ensure that Nigerians, all they need to do in an immigration centre, a passport centre, is just biometrics, just to take your fingerprints, that’s all.”

Asked if Nigerian nationals would indeed be able to complete their application from the comfort of their homes, Tunji-Ojo replied, “Of course!”

According to him, this would include uploading passport photos and their supporting documents.

“We have gone beyond that. In fact, we’ve gone through it. We would have gone live about two weeks ago but I saw some errors when they came to do a presentation and I said, ‘You know this cannot be this,” he said.

We’re talking about balancing national security as well as convenience. There must be a middle point. You cannot bring discomfort on the basis of enhancement of security. You must find a meeting point of both security and comfort.”

The minister also restated his promise that by February 2024, all Nigerian international airports would have e-gates.

“Once you’re Nigerian and you’re coming to Nigeria, you will have no business seeing an immigration officer, except if you’re a person of interest,” he said.

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