NIS Resumes Issuance of Passports Amidst Rising COVID-19 Cases

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 04 -Mr Muhammad Babandede, The Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has instructed passport offices across the nation to utilize the Federal Government’s phased easing of lockdown to release processed passport to the applicants.

This is coming amidst rising cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, brought into the country through international travel.

The Service Public Relations Officer (SPEO), Mr Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja after the Federal Government’s phased and a gradual easing of Lockdown commenced.

During the lockdown period, Babandede had directed the various passport offices to clear all passport backlog for applicants enrolled for immediate issuance when the lock down is lifted.

NIS has charged all applicants to adhere to NCDC directives on social distancing, wearing of facemask, washing of hands using soap, use of hand sanitizers among others at the point of collection of the passport.

“Applicants are to be invited in batches via SMS, anyone invited will show proof of invitation before they are allowed into the premises which must coincide with the date scheduled for the respective applicant to turn up and collect their passport.

“Any passport applicant who did not receive SMS need not visit the passport office until they are invited via SMS to avoid unnecessary crowding and refusal of entry at the entrance to the passport offices, ” he said.

Some of the people who spoke to Today’s ECho on the issue are concerned that this is the wrong time for the move as it may encourage cross border travel.

“How is this a critical service at this time please? With our borders as porous as ever with illegal immigrants moving covid across, it is passport that is this ones problem. Where are the people going with the passport biko?” a man told Today’s Echo after being informed of the move.

Last month, 20 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Osun state in one day after the state government tested 100 returnees from Ivory Coast.

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