The government says printing the document locally would provide employment for Nigerians to acquire skills in passport production.
The federal government on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on domestication of production of Nigeria’s international passports.
The agreement was signed between IRIS SMART TECHNOLOGY LTD, an indigenous company, and Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc at the Ministry of Interior in Abuja.
The domestication entails that production of e-passport will be in Nigeria alone and will no longer by foreigners.
No official date was announced for the commencement of the local production.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said he was glad to witness the signing of the MoU.
The minister said the process that led to signing of the MoU began two years ago. He explained that before the agreement, passport booklets were produced outside the country.
He enumerated the advantages of Nigeria producing the e-passport to include “protection of our data base.”
He said producing the document locally would provide employment for Nigerians to acquire skills in passport production as well as technological know-how in production of high quality passport booklets.
“We must ensure that we provide Nigerians with the best quality passport booklet because that is what Nigerians deserve,” he said.
On his part, Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, thanked the minister for ensuring that domestication of production of the passport was achieved.
He said Nigerian Immigration Service was the greatest beneficiary of the development and assured that the passport would be of high quality.
Mr Babandede stated that the first copy to be produced would be tested to ensure that it had the desired quality.
Abbas Masanawa, Managing Director, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, also commended the interior ministry for the initiative and efforts at seeing it through.
He said the MoU was an epoch event in Nigeria, as “what is done outside the country can be done in Nigeria.”
We have the capacity to print passport since we can print the Nigerian currency, he said. He added that not all African countries have the capacity to print their passports.
Mr Masanawa assured that they would not disappoint Nigerians. He said they would produce the passport that would compete with passports in the world.