Why Nigerians face difficulties getting international passports – Immigration Comptroller

Nigeria passport [Photo credit: today.ng]
Nigeria passport [Photo credit: today.ng]

The lingering foreign exchange crisis is responsible for the difficulties being experienced by citizens who are trying to obtain international passports in Nigeria, the country’s head of immigration said on Saturday.

Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service, told journalists in his office that the Buhari administration is aware of the challenges and making efforts to resolve them.

Mr. Babandede, who was appointed in May 2016, said the crisis started when contractors were left with huge differentials as the major world currencies suddenly appreciated against the naira, making it difficult for previously awarded contracts to be executed.

“The main causes came from the contracts awarded by the previous government,” Mr. Babandede said. “Companies that supplied the booklets were paid in line with the exchange rates at the time.”

“You know the exchange rate has changed. But even if you produce the passports in Nigeria, most of the components to produce them will be brought in — the chips, the security papers and others.”

The Immigration chief said he’d since informed President Muhammadu Buhari of the crisis and a solution is currently being worked out.

“It is a challenge,” he said. “But we’re talking with the president and we will address the matter.”

Mr. Babandede played down the possibility of a hike in passport prices for now, saying the government will work to resolve the problem without making life more difficult for Nigerians.

“Something has to be done.”

Within the past one month, Nigerians have taken to the public with complaints about the difficulties they faced while trying to acquire a passport or make renewals.

Passport offices in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan and other parts of the country are currently experiencing scarcity of booklets.

While Nigerians only began experiencing the scarcity at home in recent weeks, their compatriots in foreign countries have been grappling with the crisis for several months.

Mr. Babandede said touts and racketeers are making a kill amid the booklet scarcity.

“People are struggling and it had added to corruption and bribery,” he said.


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  • arewethishopeless

    This problem started months ago and you are only trying to resolve it now. Which means the management of the NIS has encouraged this scarcity to benefit from “back-door” prices. I mean, problems with contractors did not start over-night so how do you explain this situation we are in. Blame everyone but yourself.

    NIS should be called Nigeria Immigration Co LTD …

  • ukoette ibekwe

    What a bunch? A government that refuses to accept responsibilities

  • onyema22ohaka

    People are stranded abroad who are unable to get Nigerian passports they have paid for.Shameful.
    Nigerian passport has become another essential commodity,thanks to the daura dullards & their co-travelers.

    • Burbank

      Have you tried to apply for a biafran passport?

      • onyema22ohaka

        Not yet.
        But good that you are embracing your stupidity & ignorance.

        • Burbank

          Thus you don’t have biafran passport

  • Lina

    The government had better increase the amount paid officially because the difficulty is fueling corruption with passport office staff demanding money – not in Nigeria – to be paid into a special account before they can release a passport. Talk of fighting corruption.

  • thusspokez

    “The main causes came from the contracts awarded by the previous government,” Mr. Babandede said. “Companies that supplied the booklets were paid in line with the exchange rates at the time.

    The main cause is that Nigeria cannot even produce its own passport and had to outsource the production to foreign companies based abroad. Shame on you Nigeria! Shame on you! Is there anything Nigeria is capable of doing by it’s own?

    • Burbank

      Biafrans have no choice but to use Nigerian passports because biafra does not even exist.

      • thusspokez

        Piss off with your off-topic!

        • Burbank

          So they still used Nigerian passports!

      • Abd razaq

        To hell with Biafra! Nigeria will not yield to their demand of getting a country that can never exist. I believe those who are in power among them will never try to have a nation,because they are doomed if they do so. If an issue is raised about Nigeria,they are the first to shout and also they are demanding to create a nation. They are not serious!

  • A Aminu

    The problem is Buhari. He is not in a hurry to do anything unless it is to set EFCC or ICPC or DSS against a corrupt person, If the matter is to do with persived corruption, he is in a hurry to effect arrest and perpetual detention. The head of the NIS must have written a memo through the minister drawing the government’s attention to the problem several months ago. The minister must have equally written a memo to the president. The cabals comprising mallam mamman Daura, and the chief of staff, mallam Abba Kyari, will take their time, see what money is to be made from the subject matter, before it is passed to the president. This should take 6 months or more.

    • Burbank

      Dasuki Sambo already stole those billions of dollars and you blamed Buhari!

      • A Aminu

        Please let us reason, and not cry over spill milk. Sambo Dasuki stole billions of dollars, there is no doubt about that, and he is under investigation and prosecution. Nigeria must move on. Passports are printed and produced abroad, or by NSMC (security Minting outfit of the FG), the paper, the ink, and chips to print the passports must be procured from abroad, by the time this is done, the cost is astronomical so much NIS cannot sell passports for five times the price at which is charged today. A presidential approval is required. If the economic cost of the passport is to be charged, Nigerians may end up paying N200,000 for a Nigerian passport or more. This is why urgent presidential approval is necessary, which Buhari is not in a hurry to give. And many similar approvals are not forthcoming and the economy is suffering. His go slow attitude to approvals are killing the economy and the bureaucracy. And that is why the government is at stand still.
        Can you tell me why Buhari has not appointed a minister from Kogi State since the death of the late minister Emmanuel Ocholi more than seven months ago? Is he fair to people of Kogi State, to go for so long unrepresented in the FEC.
        Can you tell me why Buhari should withhold payment of allowances of our former presidents for 10 months, simply because the balance in the Head of account to be charged to pay these allowances has been transferred to the TSA, and for 10 months presidential approval has not been given. If former presidents can suffer this fate, what awaits a poor civil servant waiting for his entitlements.
        Buhari is playing God in this country, we wait for him in 2019. Let’s see how he can secure a second term.

        • Burbank

          We have no choice but to print passports abroad because our security printers, controlled documents producers and even our CBN and banks have long been compromised and infiltrated by criminals.
          The previous administration had no interest in improving our local security printers and it is easier to corruptly print abroad.
          Buhari must put in place proper efficient effective and secured procedures in passport production to enable Nigerians to have respectable traveling documents.
          Those unpaid former heads of state are not exactly top priority when thousands of civil servants had been unpaid for months.

  • Burbank

    Dasuki Sambo alone could have easily paid for those documents in US dollars then, but he was busy distributing the nation wealth among his gang!

  • Osato Osasere

    The greed of Obasanjo and the Immigration Services have finally caught up with everybody. Yeye people. In 2007 they not only changed the expiration period from 10 years to 5 years, they made it non renewable such that when a booklet expires instead of stamping renewal on your old booklet like reasonable countries do they make everybody go pay for a new booklet. An queue up to be photographed. When you live abroad they expect you to be physically present just to get a passport. Only Nigerian passport expires after 5years because immigration officers want to make money. In most countries people don’t go spend days queuing up for passports, they apply at the post offices. Yeye people! Try get a Nigerian passport and they tell you to spend over 1000 euro to travel to Nigerian embassy for a passport that even Nigerian banks do not honour.