Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has frowned at the many man-made encumbrances regarding change of passport data by Nigerians, especially married women, saying it is a “stupid practice” to subject such women to the rigours of traveling to the Nigeria Immigration Service NIS headquarters in Abuja just to effect a data change. Speaking at a recent dinner with members of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ABAT Media Centre and some social media influencers in Abuja, Hon. Tunji-Ojo said there is nowhere in the world where women are subjected to such inhuman practice on account of marriage. He queried whether immigration personnel in Abuja have more than one heads as opposed to those in the various passport offices across the Federation.
“There is one stupid thing I have seen and it is that a woman gets married, changes her name and then she has to come to Abuja all the way from say Kaura Namoda or Enugu just to come and effect a change of name in her passport. It is absurd. I can’t just figure it that you want to change just your name and you have to be in Abuja. I have asked the immigration people, is it that immigration people in Abuja have more than one head than those in the states?” He asked. According to the Minister, passport issue remains the least of his worries, adding that he wants more secure borders for the country. He said as from March, the new passport reforms he is putting in place would ensure contactless biometrics enrolment in order to allow Nigerians do their enrolments from their comfort zones.
“With the new reforms, you don’t need to travel to abuja to change your data. Everything will be online. From March, once you have ever enrolled for passport and you are coming to renew, please don’t come to my office, stay in your house and do it. We have contactless biometrics and this can be done in five minutes. We don’t need to keep taking your biometrics every five years. Who does that in the world? This is what #RenewedHope is about. It is about positively disrupting the process. By the grace of God, the issue of passport is the least of our worries”, the minister stated. While announcing plans for a forum to unveil the agenda of the ministry for 2024, the minister harped on the need for knowledge transfer and training of officers on passport issues. Urging Nigerians to keep faith with the Tinubu administration, Tunji-Ojo said the president has led the country aright and that as a minister, he would continue to give his all to Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Any day I think I don’t have the zeal again, I will do what honest men do and go because Nigeria as a country does not deserve 99.9 percent. It deserves 100 percent from us. That is what public service demands”. Earlier, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister, Babatunde Alao said Dr Tunji-Ojo has done so much in concretising the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu and has creditably represented Nigerian youths in government.