Muhammad Babandede, the new comptroller-general of the Nigeria immigration service (NIS), says he has authorised state commands to replace lost passports, and also commence change of name due to marriage.
Both exercises were hitherto done in Abuja.
Babandede also pledged to decentralise and eliminate corruption at all passport offices in the country, saying reorganisation of the passport offices, was part of the sweeping reforms that has been embarked on by his administration.
The immigration boss disclosed this at a programme in Abuja on Thursday.
“Approval for replacement of lost passports shall henceforth be given by state comptrollers after online vetting and processing of application at the Passport Division in the Service’s headquarters,” he said.
“The minister of interior, Rtd Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau has tasked me to embark on this reform.
“We have taken stock of previous reforms, so what we are doing now is to decentralise the process, so that everybody do not need to come to Abuja for their passport.
“You know this creates tension in the system and even encourages corruption because of the pressure.”
The Immigration boss said that as part of efforts to root out corruption at passport offices, the official fees/categories of passports will henceforth be displayed at various passport offices to ensure transparency.
According to him, the 64 page e-passport still costs N20,000, 32 page booklet costs N15,000 (18-60 years) while those below 18 years and above 60 years cost N8, 750.
He urged Nigerians to insist on paying the official fees at the designated passport offices or pay online at the official immigration website to avoid exploitation by touts and agents.
Babandede said the NIS was also working to ensure availability of all categories of passport booklets, especially the 32 page booklet which is always in high demand “to avoid any confusion”.
He said additional passport offices will also be opened in state commands where the existing passport office is getting overwhelmed with demand to ensure efficient service delivery.