Aregbesola Warms Up to Face Lawmakers, Urges Nigerians Not to Patronize Touts for Passport

  • Ministry urges intending couples to go Ikoyi registry to legalize marriage – Belgore

By Dwelleth Morountodun

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who has recently become frequent guest at the National Assembly (NASS), this time is expected today (Wednesday) 22, December, to face members of the House of Representatives to answer irreconcilable matters contingent on the operations of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), especially as it borders outside of the shore of Nigeria.

Recall that the Committee on Public Accounts Committee at the weekend drilled the NIS boss over alleged engagement of consultants to manage visa and passport related matters at the Nigerian missions across the world.

Mr. Wole Oke, the Chairman of the Committee expressed concern on Friday when the Acting CG of the Service, Mr. Idris Jere, represented by ACG Budget, Olubusola Fashakin, appeared before the lawmakers following a query from the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation on revenues generated from overseas.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by Mr. Sola Fasure, an Aide to the Minister, has urged Nigerians to void patronizing touts, stressing that they should henceforth pay online for passport application.

Aregbesola, according to, Fasure, made the disclosure on Monday in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, during the rollout of the enhanced e-passport with polycarbonate data page and other security features.

“Part of the reforms is the migration of passport application and payments to digital platforms. But we regret to observe that applicants still patronise touts and unscrupulous officials in the hope to beat the system and get expedited services.” The Minister, said.

He said the only window of engagement with NIS staff is the enrolment of your biometrics, adding that patronising touts and passport office officials doesn’t always end well, but rather serves to defeat our purpose of eliminating corruption and infusing integrity to the passport administration process.

On the new application process, the Minister, acknowledged that a new timeline has been set for fresh passport application and re-issue.

“Our template stipulates maximum six weeks for obtaining new passports and maximum three weeks for renewal. We work within this schedule to enable us investigate any claims made by applicants and verify them, for the final document we issue them to have integrity. If there are challenges, wait, eventually you will get your passport before your due date of travel, if you apply early enough. You will still have long enough time to apply for visa and other travel documents. 

“Nowhere in the world is passport administration done on wait-and-get basis except in extreme emergencies. The only wait-and-get passport is passport photograph,” the minister stated.

On the new enhanced passport being rolled out in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, the minister noted that the passport is an improved document with high security features.

“The enhanced e-passport is a great improvement on the Biometric Passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a deliberate step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of travel document fraud associated with the old Machine-Readable Passport regime. 

“It is the latest technology in passport making anywhere in the world and only few countries have it. It is the most secure identity document ever produced. We are proud to make it available to Nigerians.” Aregbesola, added.

In another development, the Ministry has asserted that there is no apprehension at the Ikoyi marriage registry, urging intending couples who want to marry to go there and their nuptial tie the nuts.

Mrs. Blessing Lere-Adams, the Ministry’s Director of Communications also in a release on Tuesday, said:

“The Federal Government through the ministry wishes to assure the general public-especially prospective couples wishing and planning to contract their marriages at the Ikoyi Marriage Registry or any other Federal Marriage Registry under the Ministry of Interior, that they are free to do so, as the 1999 Constitution legally empowers government to contract such marriages.

She said the Permanent Secretary and Principal Registrar of Marriages, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, confirmed this statement while fielding questions in his office.

Belgore, according to her, emphatically submitted that the misinformation and totally incorrect news making the rounds as recently both in hard and social media was incorrect and should be disregarded.

The Permanent Secretary, stressed that the Federal High Court in three previous decisions had affirmed the powers of the Ministry to conduct statutory marriages, based on the provision of the Constitution, marriage acts and Legal Notices issued by the President and Minister of Interior. He stated that these judgements are valid, subsisting and binding, until set aside by a superior court, which is not the case.

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