Jonathan launches new e-passport, asks Nigerians to promote country’s image

The president launched the new 64-page e-Passport

President Goodluck Jonathan has urged immigration officials to improve on their services to visitors and travelers at the airports, as they represent the first image of the country. He also urged all Nigerians to speak well of the country.

Speaking at the launch of the new 64-page e-passport at the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, the President also noted that if the immigration officers conduct themselves poorly, it would reflect on the country.

“What affects every traveler is how efficient and committed our immigration officers work at our airports,” the president said. “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.”

He said the new 64-page e-passport is specially designed for frequent travelers as well as business persons.

Speaking at the event which held shortly before the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, the president also urged Nigerians to paint good pictures of their country so that others would see it in the same light.

“The issue of the image of the country is what we will all work for, both people in government, the media and civil society and 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 President added that the security of the Nigerian travel document was very important.
“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,” he said.

Mr. Jonathan said the federal government would look into ways that the country would form a robust relationship with key countries so that some of the frequent Nigerian travellers may not need visas to travel.

In his remarks, the minister of interior, Abba Moro, said with the inception of the e-passport in 2007, Nigeria became the pioneer country in Africa and the 50th in the world to commence the use of the electronic passport with enhanced security features.

He also said the on-going e-Passport Intervention Exercise, “is a clear demonstration of Government’s deliberate commitment towards entrenching seamless service delivery to Nigerians wherever they are found.

“In order to further secure the integrity of the e-passport and enhance its quality, the Federal Government has approved the following major reforms with its attendant cost implications”.

The 64 page e-passport will cost N20,000. The e-Passport for those below 18 years will cost N8,750, while those from 18-60 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 of loss of passport will attract N20,000.

Change of name as a result of marriage, divorce and deceased spouse will cost N8,750, while change of data on request will attract a processing fee of N30,000.

Giving the advantages of the new 64-page e-passport, the minister noted that it would enhance the integrity of the Nigerian travel document, as it takes care of low income earners and the aged, accommodates frequent travelers, forestalls identity theft, and conforms to international best practices.

Briefing journalists after the launch, the Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, David Paradang, explained that the new e-passport is a special demand for only frequent travelers while the 32-page e-passport is the normal passport.

He noted that the high cost for those who want to change data is to avoid fraudulent demands. He also said the expiry date for the new passport will remain five years and those whose passports are about to expire can begin to apply for the new e-passport by the 1st of August.

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