Minister of Home Affairs, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced plans to open passport offices in several key cities in the United Kingdom, including Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff (Wales), within the next three months.
During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, the minister addressed the challenges faced by Nigerians in the diaspora in renewing their passports at foreign missions.
“I think realistically there are only two places where we have this challenge now. I think exactly in Britain, London and in the US – exactly in New York. And that has to do with the concentration of Nigerians,” Tunji-Ojo admitted.
Focusing on Britain, where numerous notable cases have been documented, the minister argued that the only solution to address the problems would be the establishment of passport offices in strategic cities by February 2024.
“There is no quick fix. But we have assured Nigerians that by February next year we will have opened our front offices such that we will have front offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff in Wales and Scotland,” the minister said.
“So once we have this, it will definitely reduce the stress of Nigerians, reduce the waiting time, and of course it will bring efficiency to the entire system of obtaining passports.”
Tunji-Ojo explained that the problem existed “because we only have one passport office in the whole of the United Kingdom”.
He clarified that Nigerians living in far-flung cities such as Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff, Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Manchester or Birmingham were faced with the need to travel to London for passport renewals due to the lack of passport offices in these areas.