THE Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has stated that passport front offices would open in three months in major locations across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales).
Speaking today on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the minister addressed the concerns of Nigerians in the diaspora over challenges of renewing passports at foreign missions.
“I think there are only two places where we have this challenge now, realistically. I think in the UK, precisely, London and in the US — precisely, in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians,” Tunji-Ojo admitted.
Zeroing in on the UK, where several viral cases have been recorded, he argued the only solution was to open passport front offices in key cities by February 2024.
“There is no quick fix. But we have ensured Nigerians that by February next year, we would have opened our front offices such that we’ll have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales, and Scotland,” the minister said.
“So, once we have this, definitely, it will reduce the stress of Nigerians, it will reduce the waiting period, and of course, it will bring efficiency into the whole passport procurement system.”
Tunji-Ojo noted that the problem existed because “the entire United Kingdom has only one passport office.”
Nigerians living in faraway regions such as Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, and Belfast (North Ireland), as well as Manchester or Birmingham, according to him had little or no alternative but to fly to London to obtain their new passports.
Noting that “hundreds of thousands of Nigerians reside in this country,” the interior minister stated it was critical to evaluate the immigration office’s daily capacity and the number of persons requesting passports.