Nigeria is first African country to have enhanced e-passport, says FG


The federal government has launched the enhanced e-passport and a passport production centre for Nigerians in Canada.


Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, said Nigeria is among the first five countries worldwide and the first in Africa to have the enhanced passport.


In a statement on Thursday, Aregbesola said the passport comes with “additional” security.


“It’s a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance. Only very few countries in the world can boast of it as of today,” he said.


“Indeed, Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world and the first in Africa to have this enhanced e-passport. The document is of higher grade with additional 25 security features than the one currently in use. It is polycarbonate in design and therefore water-resistant.


“Nigerian citizenship should count in everything and Nigerians should experience no discomfort or any stress in the course of doing business with any government agency. Validating their identities through the passport should therefore be seamless.”


The minister said the passport launch was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to engender citizenship integrity as Nigerian nationals, without it, would be classified as “stateless”.


He asked all applicants to go through the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) portal and follow due process as “there is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world”.


“It is important that all applicants go through the Nigeria Immigration Service portal and follow the protocol laid down, pay the right fee and go for biometric data capture on the stipulated date. There is no wait-and-get passport service anywhere in the world,” Aregbesola said.


“The waiting period after data capture for fresh application is 6 weeks and 3 weeks for renewal. This timeline is to enable @nigimmigration verify claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued. It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global standards.


“It is important also that your details with NIN sync with the data on your application. Any discrepancy will stall your application until it is corrected. The order of the appearance of the applicant’s name especially has been an albatross for many.


 “We have introduced tracking mechanism in the application process, to enable applicants monitor the progress of their application. We shall continue to introduce necessary and available innovations to passport administration in order to best serve applicants.”


In October, Aregbesola had said the full digitisation of passport processing would be completed by December 2022.


Complete digitisation, he said, would eliminate any form of contact between passport applicants and immigration officers, as well as reduce corruption in the system.


“We are on it, and by December we will remove any manual processing of passports,” the minister had said.

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