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Surge in passport applications as 32,462 Nigerians seek international opportunities

In the first two weeks of the new year, a substantial surge in passport applications has been recorded in Nigeria, with 32,462 citizens seeking international opportunities, according to the Nigeria Immigration Service. The trend highlights the continued pursuit of better prospects abroad by the nation’s citizens.

The Nigeria Immigration Service reported that between January 8 and 21, 2024, the applicants utilized the online platform for document uploads. Out of the total applications, 15,113 have been approved for the biometric capture and production process, representing fifty percent of the overall submissions.

The Comptroller-General of the Immigration Service, Caroline Adepoju, disclosed the data during her visit to the Ikoyi and Alausa passport offices. The visit aimed to assess the functionality of the recently introduced automated passport application process.

Adepoju provided a detailed breakdown of the passport applications for the year 2024 during the briefing with journalists. Among the 32,462 applications, 11,505 were awaiting approval, while 3,406 applicants who made payments were yet to schedule appointments. Additionally, 1,438 applications were flagged for various reasons.

The Comptroller-General clarified that 50 per cent of the applications had been successfully approved for biometric capture and production, while 35 per cent were still awaiting approval. She noted that 11 per cent had made payments but were yet to book appointments, and only four per cent of the total applications were queried.

Regarding the automation of passport applications, Adepoju emphasized that while the concept of online document uploads is not new, the significant change lies in the submission of supporting documents electronically. She assured the public that the process has been research-based and successful, with only a four per cent rejection rate as of the latest update. Adepoju also highlighted the operational 24/7 availability of the help desk to address any applicant concerns.

The initiative, a collaborative effort between the Nigeria Immigration Service, technical partners, service providers, and stakeholders, was undertaken with the support of the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo. The surge in passport applications reflects the dynamic immigration trends and the aspirations of Nigerians seeking international opportunities.

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