19th January, 2011
The endless queues of applicants seeking to acquire Nigerian passports at the Ikoyi Passport Office, Lagos, have been blamed on the decrepit scanning machines being used in the office, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
An investigation by NAN showed that the scanning machines, introduced in 2008, regularly broke down, resulting in the delay in issuance of the new e-passports.
A competent Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) source told NAN that the machines were acquired more than 10 years ago.
Another source said that the number of the passport applicants had progressively risen from 800 to more than 1,000 daily, pointing out that the number was beyond the capacity the machines could handle.
The source further added that the machines were few and could not handle the increasing number of applicants.
NAN reports that the rise in the number of applicants may not be unconnected with the initial December 2010 deadline for the rejection of non-machine-readable passports (MRP).
The Federal Government, however, in December extended the deadline to enable more Nigerians to obtain the new passports.