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Tunji-Ojo: Automation of passport process saving government billions of naira - THE CABLE

JUNE 23, 2024

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the minister of interior, says the automation of the passport application process is saving the government billions of naira. 

In ‘Unfiltered: The Big Interview‘, a programme hosted by O’tega Ogra, the minister outlined a series of reforms designed to modernise the country’s immigration services.

Tunji-Ojo said since he took over, he achieved the short and mid term targets he set, which included clearing a backlog of over 204,000 passport booklets.

“When we came on board in August last year, it was about stock-taking because I always say this, as a professional, you spend more time planning so that execution can be pretty easy and we have been able to do that across all our agencies and today, the short-term goals that we had for ourselves we’ve been able to achieve that,” he said. 

“For example, in immigration, the short-term goals include clearing our backlog of over 204,000 passports that we inherited.

“We cleared that in slightly over two weeks. Less than three weeks we were able to do that and under President Bola Tinubu, we made sure that passport backlog has become something of the past that will never happen again.

“We went through our automation process which is basically broken into three different stages. But in terms of our short-term target, it’s achieving the first two then the mid-term target is, of course, the third one which is where we are now.

“We have achieved the first one, which is of course, automating the application process that has started saving government billions of naira because I will give you an example.

“We used to pay for archiving of documents, but today, we have automated that process that applicants now upload by themselves.

“When you calculate that, for archiving alone which is about N200 that we used to pay per applicant and by about three million passports a year, that’s about N600 million.

“So, we have saved government of that money and yet it’s even more convenient for people because people can now do that on their own and we moved now to the stage of even uploading passport and all these other things.”


The minister also harped on the implementation of the advanced passenger information and passenger name record (API/PNR) system which enables immigration to pre-profile travellers before they arrive in Nigeria.

“What it means basically is that if you are a terrorist or you have a questionable background, you can’t come into Nigeria,” he said. 

“So we have been able to do that, and as I speak with you, the command and control centre for the air border control management system is 100 percent ready. If you get to NIS headquarters, you will see it.

“Just two weeks ago IATA came all the way from their headquarters in Canada and they took a facility tour.

“The IATA representative said it clearly that this is one of the best command and control centres anywhere in the world. That makes me happy as a Nigerian.

“We have just completed our visa counter, and we centralise the process of procuring visas to ensure more security to enhance our national security.

“Nobody gets a visa to Nigeria now, you know, without going through Interpol 24/7 and other international criminal database systems. So, we want to profile you.

“We are taking away the power of subjectivity away from officers just on the desk in various embassies and we are giving them what we call an objective platform to be able to do what they are supposed to do and of course, with what we have done now in the next couple of weeks, we have finished the whole process development.

“Once you need an e-visa to Nigeria, maximum in 48 hours, you get your visa to Nigeria.

“We are automating the process instead of days, instead of weeks and months, instead of you having to lobby to come into Nigeria.

“We’re opening the space to legitimate and legal law-abiding people to come to Nigeria, explore the beauty of Nigeria, see our tourism, see the good feeling and see how wonderful as hosts we as a people are.”

The minister said as part of the reforms, the ministry is set to launch a home delivery system for passports within the next few days.


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