The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) says at least n 140,000 international passports are uncollected nationwide.
About 40,000 of the total 140,000 are in the Alausa passport office in Ikeja, Tony Akuneme, the NIS spokesperson, disclosed.
He explained that the majority of the uncollected passports had wrong phone contacts and untraceable addresses.
Akuneme called on applicants to process their international passports themselves using the correct details and without involving racketeers.
He told NAN: “In spite of the extensive awareness embarked on by NIS on passport application and its processes, some Nigerians still patronise racketeers or consultants to process their passports, which usually does not work out well.
“Some applicants are gullible, they fell into the hands of touts who duped them of their hard-earned money.”
Akuneme called on applicants who applied for passports before July 2022 and were unable to obtain their passports to visit the NIS website to lodge their complaints
Meanwhile, about 7,500 international passports are still awaiting collection at the immigration office in Oyo State.
The Assistant Comptroller-General of Immigration, Dora Amahian, who is in charge of planning and statistics at the NIS headquarters, made this known in Ibadan.
Amahian said some of the passports have been produced since 2020 but were waiting for the owners to claim them
The assistant comptroller-general added that the NIS had been sending text messages to the applicants as only a few of them responded to the calls put across to them.
Amahian also disclosed that some applicants submitted the wrong phone numbers making the SMS sent to them remain undelivered.
“We have about 7,500 uncollected passports in Oyo State and we do not want them to expire in our hands because if they do, applicants will have to pay money for fresh applications,” she said.
“In times past, there had been unpalatable comments about how applicants were made to wait endlessly for passport issuance.
“We want to tell you that NIS has been issuing passports but people don’t come to pick them up.’’
She assured Nigerians that passports would be issued to fresh applicants within six weeks, while renewals would be done in three weeks.