PASSPORT, A TRAVEL DOCUMENT, issued by a country’s government attests the identity and nationality of the holder. It commands national pride, as well as, a proud ambassador of his country to the holder. Passports are issued primarily for the purpose of international travels to eligible citizens without hindrance.
Nigeria has always issued passports to its citizens, over the years. But the document and its holders were always not taken seriously by foreign counties. Holders of Nigerian green passport, on arrival in foreign countries, are suspiciously singled out, extra-watched and copiously examined, due to unethical conducts of some Nigerians with Nigerian passports.
June 25, 2019, Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS, rolls-out enhanced 10-year validity e-Passport, at Ikoyi Passport office, Lagos, according to a statement released, Thursday, in Abuja, by Sunday James, NIS Public Relations Officer. NIS would shut down existing payment platform in Ikoyi office, to pave way for the new one.
Sunday James statement said: “Hence, the Ikoyi Passport office will only attend to Passport applications for the enhanced e-Passport effective from the stated date. All pending applications in Ikoyi will be processed before the roll-out date. Alausa and FESTAC Passport offices will continue to issue the existing e-Passport for applicants desirous of same”.
April 29, 2019, Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS, commenced issuance of the new 10-year validity enhanced passport booklet, as part of comprehensive reform approved by the Federal Government in January. The 64-page 10-year standard passport costs N70, 000; the 64-page five-year standard passport cost N35,000; the 32-page five-year standard passport costs N25, 000, while the 32-page five-year official passport costs N15,000.
The innovation and revolution by NIS, by the issuance of e-passports will enhance ease of travel by Nigerians. Procuring and renewing of passports in the past were precarious exercise – saddled with bottle-necks and bureaucracy, against best standards and practices, and simplified processes in other countries.
Bearers of the e-passports, should endeavour to enhance Nigeria’s image and not linked with nefarious activities that created image problems for the country and its citizens. The menu to meet different demands – 64-page for 10 and 5 years, and 32-page for five years validity are remarkable.
Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS, needs to take further steps in enhancing and sustaining the good work on the e-passports. Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS, reforms in NIS is a model in leadership in public office.