The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has confirmed the clearance of almost 60,000 passport backlogs within four working days.

This is in response to the directives given to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) last week Thursday by the minister, to clear all pending passport applications.

Alao Babatunde, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister, quoted Tunji-Ojo ‘BTO’ as disclosing this on Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, on a courtesy call.

According to him, the visitation was informed by her ministry’s need to collaborate with the interior ministry to drastically reduce human trafficking and other related challenges.

“We are not just working on humanitarian endeavours as human trafficking, our NIS must help us change the story, completely.
“When we came on board, the passport crisis was an embarrassment. And, we said: it cannot continue.

“As of this morning, I can tell you that about 60,000 passport backlogs have been cleared, specifically 59,906.

“On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, when I gave the 2-week ultimatum, we had over 200,000 backlogs.

“We have recorded progress, and I maintain my word, that those backlogs must be cleared.

“So, you can be assured that our ministry is ready to work with you on any solution we consider thoughtful and progressive like the ones you have shared.

“We may only have to expand it to include the welfare of inmates in our correctional homes as they are Nigerians as well.

“Humanitarian Crises: Edu Seeks Collaboration With Interior Ministry On Internal Security, Human Trafficking And Migration.”

…. To Set Up an Inter-Ministerial Committee For Actionable Results.”

Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu has said that collaboration between her Ministry and the Ministry of Interior in the areas of Internal Security, Human Trafficking, and Migration would go a long way in tackling the root cause of the humanitarian crisis and poverty in the country.

Vowing that she would do all she could to end the misery of Nigerians caught up in the vortex of poverty and humanitarian needs, the Minister has therefore, advocated for a strong synergy between her Ministry and the Interior Ministry.

The collaboration between the two Ministries, according to Dr. Edu, has become inevitable, owing to the determination of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address the humanitarian crisis in the country and efforts to remove Nigerians from the global poverty index in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration.

Speaking Tuesday when she paid a visit to the Ministry of Interior Headquarters, Abuja, Dr. Edu pointed out that there was the need to provide durable solutions to the crises, and for results, there must be inter-ministerial collaborations.

The Minister identified, Internal Security, Human Trafficking, and Migration as some of the factors that led to insecurity and by extension humanitarian crises and poverty across the country.

She was optimistic that synergy between the two Ministries would help in addressing some of the challenges.

While commending the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, for bringing his wealth of experience to bear on the Ministry, Dr Edu said collaboration with her Ministry will enable her to get the intelligence required to manage any humanitarian responses.

“We are here for serious business and for us to succeed, the President has said we must team up and there must be inter-sectoral and ministerial collaboration to achieve success.

“My new responsibilities focus on covering a greater population of vulnerable Nigerians, providing them with humanitarian services and alleviating their poverty in line with President Tinubu’s agenda.

“The President is committed to seeing that Nigerians smile again, and reduce the number of people living below the poverty line to the bearest minimum.” she said.

Speaking further, the Minister said; “my coming here is to quickly speak with you because your Ministry is one of the Ministries that will make my job easier.

“The President is committed to seeing that he reduces the number of persons who are exposed or prone to a humanitarian crisis, I am saying this because a lot of our work depends on how well you do youre work in the Ministry of Interior.

“We need your support and we need it at all levels. The heads of security agencies here at this meeting will help to work with our team to gather intelligence on how people are moving in and out of our country.

“There are issues of human trafficking, child labor, and sexual exploitation, amongst other things which lead to humanitarian crises, We cannot continue to allow this trend to go unattended, It’s not acceptable.

“We need your support. We need intelligence from you. We just got the approval for officers from NAPTIP to be present at the different ports.

“We need you to know the importance of our collaboration with you on the border. We have to find ways to step up our intelligence in Nigeria, we have too many illegal borders.”

On social intervention, the Minister said the expansion of the social register will be extended to the next servicemen and widows of paramilitary organizations whose husbands have died in the cause of active service, adding that inmates of the Nigeria Correctional Services will also be captured and benefit from the skill acquisition programs of her Ministry.

Responding, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo commended Dr Edu for the Renewed Hope collaboration she sought from his Ministry.

According to the Minister, the interministerial Committee headed by the two permanent secretaries in the two Ministries will work out modalities that will strengthen the focus of their agenda.

He described as heartwarming and a welcome development, the Humanitarian Minister’s offers to train the inmates of the Correctional Services in skills.

Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair (ANIPR), Special Adviser On Media and Publicity to Honourable Minister, MHAPA.

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