The Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service, in continuation of the implementation of passport administration and immigration service reforms, have inaugurated a special fastrack service that would enable Nigerians in the diaspora with expired passports to return home without hindrance.
The Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Idris, had 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, stated that the special arrangement was approved by the Federal Government.
Idris had said all airlines in Nigeria were requested to allow holders of expired Nigeria passports to board without any hindrance, while all Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad were also requested to circulate the same information to airline operators and border authorities of their host countries for compliance.
However, in a statement made available to The PUNCH on Thursday, the Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Anthony Akuneme, explained that the service, which will be available for two months, will also give the returnee Nigerians opportunity to renew their Nigerian passports during their stay in the country.
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 stated that applicants for the new enhanced Nigerian e-Passport whose biometrics had been captured at the NIS offices at the Nigerian missions in their respective countries of residence did not need to start a fresh application.
Also, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the NIS boss for launching a dedicated service to meet the needs of Nigerians returning home from abroad.