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No passport booklets shortage in Nigeria – Minister

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Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, says there is no passport booklets shortage in Nigeria, as the Federal Government has cleared all backlogs of passport applications.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Minister’s  Media Adviser, Mr Sola Fasure, on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him,  the Ministry has made efforts to make passports available to Nigerians.

“In 2021 alone, we provided 1.3 million passports to Nigerians. As at today, there is no booklets shortage in Nigeria.

“As at the second quarter of 2022, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has provided 645,000 passports out of the 750,000 applications received.

“To address the challenge of the backlog, we have sent 11,000 booklets to Ikoyi, 11,000 to Alausa and 8,000 to FESTAC centres in Lagos State.

“We have also sent sufficient booklets to all the centres nationwide to address this challenge,” the Minister said.

He added that 10,000 passport booklets have been deployed to the new Port Harcourt passport production centre, to fast track passport issuance in the area.

The Minister said that the centre would now be responsible for passport demands from Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa.

Aregbesola said that with these efforts, there was no excuse again for delays and non-issuance of passport within reasonable period across the country.

The Minister urged those seeking for passport to apply online to avoid being shortchanged by unscrupulous elements.

“I will urge applicants for the Nigerian passport to apply early enough before their travel date to avoid cutting corners and falling into the hands of scammers and other opportunists.

“It is important also that they apply by themselves through the NIS portal and not through touts and unscrupulous officials, which often brings heartaches,” he added.

Aregbesola said that a six weeks and three weeks window for fresh application and renewal respectively had been provided after biometric data capture, within which the passport will be ready.

“This timeline is to enable NIS investigate and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued.

“It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global standard. There is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world,” the Minister said.

He explained that in addition to the standardised timeline, the NIS had introduced tracking mechanism to enable applicants monitor the progress of their application.

“We are also introducing data capture centres all over the country before the end of 2022, to eliminate physical contacts with NIS officials,” he added.

He pledged that the Federal Government would continue to introduce necessary innovations in passport administration to serve applicants better.

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‘Tinubu paying fuel subsidy more than before’ – El-Rufai

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The former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has claimed that the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government is currently subsidising fuel for Nigerians.

Fielding questions from journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday, El-Rufai said the FG is now paying fuel subsidy more than before.

President declared during his inauguration on May 29, 2023, that the country can no longer subsidise fuel for the citizens, saying the petrol subsidy is gone.

The development skyrocketed the price of fuel and other products and services, triggering the economic hardship that has been bedevilling the nation since 2023.

But the former governor told journalists on Monday that the subsidy is back.

According to him, the FG returned the subsidy because “the impact has been seen and the packages of support that would reduce the impact have not been so effective in reducing the impact, so the federal government is back now subsidising petrol.”

He said many people don’t know that the fuel subsidy is back.

“If they want to know whether we are subsidising or not, they should compare the price of petrol and diesel because petrol should be more expensive than diesel but diesel is priced above a thousand naira while petrol is at N600 per litre.

“So, we are still subsidising Petrol because the government has realised that the way it implemented the fuel subsidy initially required some adjustments,” El-Rufai said.

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Clark calls for special taskforce for release of Chibok girls

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Pa Edwin Clark, Leader of  the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged the Federal Government to appoint a special taskforce to ensure the rescue of the remaining Chibok girls held by Boko Haram

The elder statesman made the call while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday at a ceremony to mark the Chibok girls’ 10th anniversary in captivity.

While expressing displeasure over the failure of past administrations to rescue the girls, Clark urged President Bola Tinubu to leave no stones unturned to secure the release of the girls.

“About 90 of them are still missing after 10 years. This should be a source of worry and concern to any government.

“Tinubu should appoint a special taskforce with brave soldiers, who are competent and transparent and not nepotic.

“Their main duty will be to travel at all times to Sambisa forest or where ever these citizens are, to look for these girls and rescue them.

“In giving this advice, I also want to add that a time limit should be given to them to carry out this task.”

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Oodua Nation Agitation: NSCDC puts personnel on red alert in Ondo

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Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, has ordered divisional officers and tactical teams to be on red alert and ward off any incursion into the state by Oodua nation agitators.

NSCDC Commandant in the state, Oluyemi Ibiloye, who stated this at the weekly muster parade where the corps’ operations during the last Eid-el Fitr celebration were reviewed, also ordered the teams to be on standby for other miscreants.

Ibiloye, in a statement made available to newsmen by the command’s Spokesperson, Aidamenbor Daniel on Monday in Akure, admonished officers to take positive posture toward their job.

He reminded the officers and men of the corps of the ongoing political activities within the state and the need to be professional and apolitical in their operations.

“The intelligence department, armed squad, counter terrorism unit, rapid response squad and operations are to be on red alert to ensure that the security breach that took place in Oyo State does not happen in Ondo State,” he said.

According to him, this has become imperative especially now that various political parties are having their rallies in the state, with mixed crowds in attendance.

“The command wishes to reiterate its commitment to safeguarding lives and properties, and ensuring the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.

“We would do all within the ambits of the law to ensure the safety of all good and law-abiding citizens of Ondo State.

“For quick intervention and actionable intelligence sharing, the command’s quick response lines 08034027234, 08037871044 and 08032797388 are open for public use,” Ibiloye said.

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