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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

It’s stupid asking married women to visit Abuja for name change on passport  -Minister

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has criticized the Immigration Service for inconvenient passport name change process

Speaking during a recent dinner with members of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT) Media Centre and social media influencers in Abuja, Tunji-Ojo expressed his dissatisfaction with the Nigerian Immigration Service’s practice of requiring individuals, particularly married women, to travel to the Abuja headquarters to change their names on passports.

Labeling the process as ‘inhumane’, the minister argued that globally, women are not subjected to such inconveniences when changing their names due to marriage.

“There is one stupid thing I have seen and it is that a woman gets married, changes her name, and then she has to come to Abuja all the way from say Kaura Namoda or Enugu just to come and effect a change of name in her passport. It is absurd.”

He announced a streamlined approach to passport renewal, emphasizing that starting from March, individuals renewing their passports need not visit his office. Instead, they can opt for a contactless biometrics system, a quick process that can be completed from the comfort of their homes.

Tunji-Ojo also criticized the recurrent need for biometric data every five years, deeming it unconventional on a global scale.

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“From March, once you have ever enrolled for your passport and you are coming to renew, please don’t come to my office, stay in your house and do it.

“We have contactless biometrics and this can be done in five minutes. We don’t need to keep taking your biometrics every five years. Who does that in the world?”

The #RenewedHope, he said aims to positively disrupt bureaucratic processes, asserting that passport issues should be of minimal concern.

He emphasized the necessity of delivering 100percent dedication to public service, stating that any waning zeal would prompt him to step aside for the country’s greater good.

The minister directed agency heads to expedite passport processes, signaling an end to prolonged queues while he highlighted the significance of leveraging technological advancements to enhance efficiency and accuracy in immigration and correctional services.

The Minister had on Monday also announced that automation of passport application process will begin from January 8, 2024.

This new method according to him, will allow Nigerians to apply and complete their passport application process online without human contact. “We are good to go live,” he assured.

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“We are starting the training and on January 8, the solution will be live and direct for Nigerians to have a good feel, a sweet experience based on the Renewed Hope of Mr President. We have been able to reduce human contact in passport acquisition to the minimum,” he said.

Christiana Alabi-Akande
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