The Nigerian government says it has inaugurated “enhanced e-passport” to improve the passport application process for Nigerians at home and abroad.
Sola Fasure, the spokesman for the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
The minister announced this at the official rollout of the enhanced e-passport at the Nigerian High Commission, London.
The minister, who revealed that the Nigerian passport was the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship, noted that it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide the passport without any stress and within a reasonable period.
“What we have come to do here (UK) is symbolic of the core mandate of the ministry and indeed the federal government of Nigeria affirmation of citizenship integrity. As we are all aware, there have been huge challenges in passport administration, from shortage of booklet to touting and an economy of corruption built around it,” said Mr Aregbesola. “These challenges have persisted for too long, and a lot of people have become cynical while others have taken them as normal and then roll with it. But I come from a tradition of problem-solving in public administration.”
He added, “I do not believe that any problem is insurmountable, so we are going to solve all the problems associated with passport administration, and we are already succeeding.”
On the features of the enhanced passport, Mr Aregbesola noted that it was a big improvement over the standard passport that was introduced back in 2007.
“The enhanced e-passport is a great improvement on the biometric passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a strategic step towards curbing forgery. Impersonation and other forms of fraud associated with obtaining travel documents under the old machine-readable passport regime,” the minister further stated. “We are aware that technology rules the world, and we are keeping abreast of the latest development in the field.
“Over the years, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) had worked assiduously and in close synergy with Messrs Iris Smart Technologies Limited to develop and implement passport reforms.”
Aregbesola said the reforms were in tandem with international best practices, including extant International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Standards and Regulations.