According to the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, passport front offices would open in three months in major locations across the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales).
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, the minister addressed the concerns of Nigerians in the diaspora about issues renewing 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.
Focusing on the United Kingdom, where multiple viral cases have been reported, he claimed that the only option was to build passport front offices in major 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”.
Nigerians living in remote places such as Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, and Belfast (North Ireland), as well as Manchester or Birmingham, he claims, had little alternative but to fly to London to obtain their new passports.
Noting that “hundreds of thousands of Nigerians reside in this country,” the interior minister indicated that it was critical to assess the immigration office’s daily capacity and the number of persons requesting passports.