Nigeria’s minister of Interior, Olubunmi Ojo has said that front offices will open soon in some major cities across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Ojo made this known while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday in Lagos.
The Minister addressed major concerns of Nigerians in the foreign countries having difficulties in renewing their 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 explained that the problem existed “because we have only one passport office in the entire United Kingdom”.
According to him, Nigerians living in far-flung cities such as Edinburg (Scotland), Cardiff, and Belfast (North Ireland) as well as Manchester or Birmingham had no choice but to travel to London for their new passports.
Noting that there were “hundreds of thousands of Nigerians resident in this country”, the interior minister stated that it was important to investigate the capacity that the immigration office can take in a day and how many people are asking for passports.