The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has said that the cost of obtaining international passport remains unchanged despite a new regime of new electronic passports that cost as much as N70, 000.
The Comptroller General of NIS, Mohammed Babandede, said though issuance cost N25, 000, the travelling public now have two new categories to choose from, depending on the sizes of their pockets.
Babandede, at the 43rd yearly general meeting of the National Association of Travel Agencies of Nigeria (NANTA), in Lagos, said the new categories, recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, has 32 and 64 pages valid for five and 10 years.
Babandede, who was represented by the Comptroller, Zone A, Lagos, Mohammed Alhassan, said the introduction of the new e-passport of 10 years validity would save travellers the stress of renewal or getting new passports.
“We are going to have 32 pages with five years validity at the cost of N25, 000. There will also be 64 pages with five years validity at the cost of N35, 000. We also have 64 pages of 10 years validity at the cost of N70, 000.
“You can see that the service has brought increased pages in the passport. Because it is 64 pages, it is like two passports in one and that is why it is N70, 000. So, there is no increase. Everyone is free to choose depending on whether he or she travels regularly, stays aboard or not,” he said.
He added that the new passport, earlier slated for roll out in March, would debut this month.
The delay was not unconnected with the plan to harmonise the data with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), as directed by the Federal Government.
On its security features, he said a lot of security enhancement features had been incorporated, in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards.
“I am glad to say that Nigeria is one of the first set of countries to introduce e-passport all over the world. And with that, it has reduced the burden and the huddles most Nigerians encounter whenever they travel abroad. Because our previous passport does not contain the much desired security features to be accepted comfortably all over the world.”
I am glad that with the introduction of the e-passport that has become a forgone issue.
“Also, the passport is weather-friendly. It is not easily prone to damage unlike our previous passport. We discovered that it is prone to damage easily but this one the improved features are very good cannot easily be damaged. We also have enhanced security measures, saves our Nigerians in the Diaspora of the problem of coming back home to obtain their passport”.
Babandede commended NANTA for introducing the identification card tagged – the National Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC) – to reduce the incidences of fraud and fakery.
He urged NANTA to put plans in place toward integrating its data with the NIS for proper identification and for seamless activities.