The International Passport Office in Ikeja, Lagos, has begun operations on Saturdays and Sundays to meet rising demand by applicants.
Mrs Rose Bukar, its new Passport Control Officer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday that the extra duty was to speed-up service delivery to applicants.
“We want to ensure that applicants spend lesser time in processing passports.
“We shall also continue to initiate measures that will enhance smooth and fast service to Nigerians,” she said.
“This weekend, we witnessed an unexpected turn-up of applicants, but we paid special attention to the vulnerable one.
“The Nigerian Immigration Service has introduced some special compassionate measures for the vulnerable, especially those with health challenges, the elderly, the heavily pregnant, and those living with disabilities.
“In the last seven days, about 800 passports were produced.
“I am optimistic that with more capturing devices, the queue will gradually diminish,” she said.
On the backlog of passport applications, she said that the office was getting to “a state of equilibrium”.
“The office has cleared passport applications up to those submitted in September.
“But, I want Nigerians to understand that applying for a fresh passport requires a minimum of six weeks; those seeking to refresh will have to give us three weeks,” she said.
Bukar implored Nigerians to always permit the service to carry out necessary investigation on the application anytime they came to apply.
“The Nigerian Passport is the security architecture of the person holding it; there is no shortcut to these security checks. All Nigerians should take note of this,” she declared.