Well, barring any last minute change in policy, Nigerians too join the league of nations with 10 years international passport validity period by the end of this year.
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede who disclosed this last week said, “This major step in the ease of doing business in Nigeria was recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The Nigerian Passport
The approval which extends the validity of Nigeria’s international passport from 5 to 10 years is however applicable only to adult from the age of 18 and above. Children’s international passport is still pegged at 5 years.
Perhaps, the good news for most Nigerians is the window of the possibility of Nigerian Government entering in to bilateral agreement with other countries for 10 years visa. An international passport with 10-year validity in most cases makes room for bilateral agreement for 10 years visa bargain among countries.
For Nigerian Government, the policy is in line with its anti-corruption war and the zeal to promote the image of the country. The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service explained that, when the approval comes in to force by the end of this year, it would help to limit human intervention which encourages extortion of applicants. He explained that it would also help to flush out touts in the processing of international passport.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Other benefits include:
Improve quality and security features of the Nigerian International passport.
It would ease the stress of international passport renewal.
Reduce the cost of production
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service however warned that Nigerians should be prepared to pay more for the 10-year validity passport. Presently, the official cost of the 32-page is N19,500, while that of 64-page international passport is N24,500.
Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede
Recall, by January of this year, the Nigerian Immigration Service started using the National Identification Number (NIN) for the issuance of the international passport. The harmonization was to strengthen the e-government system and to boost the ease of doing business in Nigeria. This was flowing from the executive order of the ease of doing business in Nigeria, which was signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo in May last year.
Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo
Can this new move indeed help to stamp out the corruption in the issuance of international passport, taking into cognizance of the often log jam in the production of passport booklets?
Can the 10-year validity be a success?
Again, what has been the success stories of the harmonization of the National Identification Number (NIN) database in the issuance of the Nigerian international passport?
The process of a getting an international passport in Nigeria traumatizes a lot of Nigerians. Nigeria is joining the trend around the world where nations now have adult-passport been made valid for 10 years, such as UK, USA, New Zealand and other nations. But, other nations allowed the adult applicant to choose passport validity, depending on the number of years needed.
Question: The validity period is a brilliant idea but within the 10 years, some data would change. How do you intend to handle that?
Comptroller General: Understanding the concerns of the masses that a lot (data) would change within a 10-year period. The most important data of a person that would change is the physiques. And that change occurs more in children. So, children are exempted from the 10-year validity.
Question: The stress we go through while trying to get a Nigerian international passport needs to be focused on. The government should allow the adult applicant to choose passport validity, depending on the number of years needed.
Comptroller General: People seeks for availability of options. Yes, it is a good opinion, such as 5-years or 10-year validity period. Even, among the 10-year validity, there is possibility to have 64 pages booklet, because we have people who are frequent travelers such as business men. Why should they take 10-year validity of 64 pages? The pages would be full. Therefore, they would like to take 5-year validity of 64 pages. This is a good idea and a comprehensive reform that we are working on.
It is a comprehensive reform that would takle scarcity of booklets, corruption, quality of the booklet and handle prompt process of issuance.
Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Office
The 10-year validity period has great value for the applicants. It reduce the frequency of visiting the immigration office. For the immigration office, it would reduce their work floor. An applicant has an advantage of another 5 years without attaching another passport.
Great news, @MBuhari approves validity of Nigerian Passport to10 years from five years.
The joy of not having anything to do with the Nigerian High Commission or Embassy across the world for 10 years is a welcome development for many Nigerians in Diaspora https://t.co/LnsWk4lPG2
The Nigerian Immigration Service has launched an easy payment with GT Bank. It would reduce access to money to officers. It would reduce a lot of problems (corruption). You can pay from your bedroom to the bank. Also, other reforms includes the inclusion of National Identification Number.
Question: But, there are some Nigerians that do not have the National Identification Number (NIN)?
Comptroller General: The passport would be connected with the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC). NIMC would generate National Identification Number (NIN). Automatically, the Nigerian with no National Identification Number (NIN) would be registered.