The Federal Government has moved the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) back to the Ministry of Interior, its original location when the Commission was established.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordered the relocation from the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to the Interior so as to address the intractable problems associated with the National Identity Numbers (NIN) as one of the major conditions for seamless application and obtaining of International Passports and other travelling documents.
Head of Corporate Communications of NIMC, Kayode Adegoke also confirmed the development to Nigerian Tribune, saying the Commission has been moved to Interior.
On delays associated with issuance of NIN to Nigerians, especially those with change of birth date and arrangements of a sequence of names, Adegoke said the issues are being addressed.
He disclosed that NIMC would launch a mobile application by this weekend as part of several innovations to tackle the problems.
On whether NIMC is aware that some persons are using the problems to obtain money fraudulently from Nigerians, Adegoke dismissed the insinuations, saying such persons are certainly not from NIMC.
The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, had on assumption of office vowed to remove all bottlenecks and encumbrances in the process of issuance of the Nigerian travel document by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
The Minister had on Thursday last week summoned the Acting Comptroller General, Adepoju Carol and Managing Director of Iris Smart Technologies, Yinka Fisher to his office over the over 200,000 international passport pending applications.
He accordingly gave them a marching order, demanding the swift clearance of the over 200,000 backlog of passports in two weeks.
Tunji-Ojo gave the order in furtherance of his earlier promise to remove “bottlenecks in the acquisition of passports and other immigration documents.”
Delays in the processing and enrolment of passports in Nigeria has been a source of frustration for citizens, causing significant delays in obtaining crucial travel documents.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, the issue of passport is a national emergency. I keep getting emails daily from Nigerians complaining. We cannot continue like that.
“It has become an embarrassment to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I represent him here as your minister. That embarrassment is mine now. I am not changing my words. I need the backlog cleared in two weeks.”
It was gathered that government was unhappy that a lot of Nigerians suffer unduly and in most cases extorted by some NIMC officials in the process of correcting date of birth or name in their National Identity Card issued by the Commission. The long process of doing this also causes delay in the issuance of passports to applicants by Immigration.
During the last administration, the NIMC in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) collaborated for the linkage of NIN with the Subscribers Identity Modules SIM, to fight incidences of kidnapping banditry, and terrorism.
Over 100 million Nigerians linked their NIN with SIM within a period of three years.
Nigerian Tribune gathered further that the process of moving out the NIMC to the Ministry of Interior is being accelerated in line with President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s directive to remove all impediments and bottlenecks from obtaining NIN, and Passports.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service has disclosed that more personnel are being deployed to all its frontline desks across the country to meet the two-week deadline set by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.
Tunji-Ojo had a week ago asked the Service to clear the over 200,000 Passport application backlogs in the country. He announced on Tuesday that over 55,000 had been cleared within five days of his ultimatum.
The Service maintained that since the Minister handed down the ultimate, the personnel of the NIS worked even at weekends, including Saturdays and Sundays to ensure that the backlogs were cleared.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Dr Dotun Aridegbe when contacted said the NIS Acting Comptroller General, Mrs Wura-Ola Adepoju has been proactive in responding to the deadline, while all facilities as well equipment are working optimally.
Dr Dotun said:” We have been working seriously to meet the deadline. And even before then, the Acting CG has been extremely proactive.
“Our personnel are working every weekend at all Passport offices around the country. And the frontline desks are working as well, including on Saturdays and Sundays.”