President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Monday urged the authorities of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to work in ensuring the availability of the international passport booklet in view of the hardships often encountered by Nigerians who daily apply for the document.
Saraki, who gave the charge while inaugurating a new passport office at the National Assembly, described as worrisome a situation where Nigerians who apply for international passports have to wait for a long time before the passports are delivered to them.
The president of the Senate, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, however lauded the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, for the "good initiative" of locating a passport office at the National Assembly.
Saraki noted that the establishment of the passport office at the National Assembly "will help to further strengthen the relationship between the legislative arm of government and the executive.
"Be that as it may, I believe that what is important to us as we get to understand their challenges is the concern we have as representatives of the people over the unavailability of passport booklets where Nigerians have to wait a long time for their international passports to be delivered to them and the efficiency of it too."
He further said: "I hope that the Comptroller General of Immigration will work to see how we can improve on this so that Nigerians can have their passports as at when due.
"I have traveled to a few countries and one of the complaints we get is the issue of unavailability of passport booklets."
He commended the CG of NIS for the initiative and would continue to support the agency to improve on its services and ensure that adequate passports are available for Nigerians who need them.
"We will continue to support you to see what we can do to improve your efficiency and making the passport booklets readily available to Nigerians as at when they need the passport renewal," Saraki said.
On his part, the Comptroller-General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, thanked the Senate president for inaugurating the centre, an initiative he said was meant to further strengthen the good relations between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
"Now that the Senate president has inaugurated this Passport Office, it would now be easier for members of the National Assembly to get their passports issued or renewed. They no longer need to come to our office along the Airport Road, Abuja for that," Babandede said.