In keeping with the execution of reforms to the immigration and passport systems, the Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service have launched a special fastrack service that would make it easier for Nigerians living abroad who have expired passports to return home.
The special arrangement was authorized by the Federal Government, according to the Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Idris, in a circular dated December 9, 2022, forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, all Heads of Foreign Missions, all Immigration Attaches, all Airport Comptrollers, and all Airlines.
Idris had stated that all Nigerian airlines had been instructed to allow travelers with expired Nigerian passports to board without any restrictions, and all Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad had been instructed to convey the same instructions to the host nation’s border control officials and airline operators.
However, Anthony Akuneme, the NIS’s public relations officer, noted in a statement on Thursday that the service, which will be offered for two months, will also provide returning Nigerians the chance to renew their passports while they are still in the nation.
He said, “Dedicated Diaspora desks had been set up at all international airports across the country to ensure Nigerians returning home from abroad have hassle-free passage.
“The ongoing dedicated diasporan service available from December 12, 2022, to January 31, 2023, allows Nigerian passport holders in the Diaspora to board their countries of residence and be admitted into Nigeria with their expired international passports.
“The Comptroller General of Immigration had also directed Passport Control Offices to accord priority to the returnees and their families, bearing in mind that most of them have a specific time they must return to their countries of residence after their holiday in Nigeria.”
The Deputy Comptroller of Immigration further indicated that applicants for the newly upgraded Nigerian e-Passport did not need to begin a new application if their biometrics had already been taken at the NIS offices at the Nigerian missions in their various countries of residency.
In addition, the NIS director was praised for starting a special service to cater to the requirements of Nigerians returning from abroad by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.