The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says there are about 97,000 passport booklets remaining uncollected across the country.
NIS spokesperson Tony Akuneme disclosed this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Akuneme said half of the uncollected passports are in Lagos.
He added that there the uncollected passports were due to difficulty in reaching some of the owners over a lack of proper documentation caused by third-party involvement in the process.
“Some of them engaged agents to help them in their passport processing, and these agents might be doing for a lot of persons,” the NIS spokesperson said.
“They end up dropping wrong contacts and thereby making it difficult to reach out to the owners of these passports when they are ready for collection. This is a big challenge.
“There are booklets issued that are not collected. It is ironic. We don’t have a problem with booklets. We don’t have a shortage of booklets.
“What we have had in the last one or two years is a sudden upsurge in the number of Nigerians wanting to travel. We felt it was also related to COVID-19.”
Last month on the assumption of duty, Caroline Adepoju, NIS acting comptroller general declared a state of emergency on the passport process and promised Nigerians that the agency would commence “decisive steps” to fix the scarcity of passport booklets in the country.
Adepeju also pledged that citizens will soon be able to obtain passports in “a timely manner”.