To ameliorate the sufferings of heavy Nigerian travelers, the Federal Government yesterday launched the new 64-page Nigerian e-passport.
The new travel document will be in use with the existing 32-page e-passport.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo were issued their new passports yesterday after their data were captured before the Federal Executive Council meeting started at the State House, Abuja.
Jonathan urged the immigration officers to be efficient and committed as the impressing they give visitors at the point of entry like the airports goes a long way.
He also tasked the service to do everything possible to end the complaints of Nigerians abroad by making it easier for them to get Nigerian passports.
He said: “I always sympathize with those who travel almost on a weekly basis, changing passport every month, at least we have moved a step forward. The key thing is for us to have a robust relationship with key countries so that some of these frequent travelers may not need visas, that will really help us more.”
“One thing one must know today is that it is not the issue of 64-page passport that is key to Nigerians but the security. If our passport could be easily faked by criminals, then we will have problems. One thing again is that how can Nigerians be able to get passport easily especially those living outside this country.”
“When I travel there is this complaints about how to get the Nigerian passport not necessarily the issue of 64-page passport but how do they get passport, so the ministry must look into this.”
He went on: “What affects every traveler is how efficient and committed our immigration officers work at our airports, visitors that come into the country have different impressions about our immigration officers, so they must improve, they are the image of this country, how they handle visitors matters so much, if they conduct themselves poorly, it reflects on all of us, so their conduct at the airports are key besides the passport.”
Urging all Nigerians, including people in government, the media and the civil society, to work for the image of the country, he said: “I always say that when people continue to paint their country with all kinds of colours, that is the way they will associate those colours with your green passport.”
“I want a situation that whenever you travel to another country and you raise your green passport, people will appreciate you and not when you raise your green passport, people will begin to think that that green passport signify some suspicious character.”
“We are not helping ourselves when we paint ourselves the colours that we are not supposed to bear. I wish to continue to appeal to all Nigerians that we must all collectively learn how we do our things, statements that we make, to paint brighter colours for our green passport.” He said
The Minister of Information, Abba Moro said that the new e-passport is part of Government’s commitment to give seamless service delivery to Nigerians wherever they are.
He said: “The introduction of the 64-page Nigerian e-passport which is being launched today is to say the least a demand driven initiative to meet the needs of frequent Nigerian travellers. Based on some recommendations arising from the operational experiences of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Ministry of Interior recently approved some reforms concerning the Nigerian e-Passport, including the newly introduced 64-page.”
“The fundamental rationale behind the Reforms is to enhance the integrity of Nigerian Travel Documents and the image of the Nigerian traveller anywhere in the world.”
“Appropriate strategies are being put in place to sensitive members of the public on the new e-passport reforms to enable full implementation after this official launch by Mr. President.” He added
Briefing State House correspondents, the Comptroller General of Immigration, David Parradang said that the 64-page passport will also last for five years before renewal just like the standard 32-page passport.
According to him, the 64-page passport, which will officially be issued to the public from1st of August, 2014, is meant for heavy travelers.
He maintained that the service is well positioned to check and deal with fraudsters within or outside the service who intend to abuse the system.
According to the leaflet for the launch, the 64 page e-passport will cost N20,000.
The e-Passport for those below 18 years will cost N8,750, while those from18-60 years will pay N15,000 for the e-passport.
Those aged 60 years and above will pay N8,750 for the passport.
Change of data or loss of passport will attract N20,000 payment while change of name as a result of marriage, divorce and deceased spouse will cost N8,750.
The leaflet also showed that change of data on request will attract a processing fee of N30,000.
At the end of the FEC meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said that the Presidential Victims Support Fund Dinner will be held at the State House Banquet Hall by 6.p.m today.
The fund, he said, will be used for the victims of the insurgency and the safe school initiative programme.