Many Nigerians seeking to escape from the economic hardship in the country, are trooping to the Nigeria Immigration Services, NIS, office in Enugu to obtain or renew their international passports.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who monitored the development at the NIS Passport Office at the Federal Secretariat, Enugu on Wednesday, observed that youth between 19 and 32 years were majority among the more than 100 people anticipating to obtain or renew their passports.
NAN gathered that most of the applicants are students and young businessmen, who want to seek admission or relocate their businesses to other countries, mostly within the African continent.
Speaking with NAN, a fresh passport applicant, Kelechi Ngwu, said that he was making effort to relocate his tyre business from Enugu to Cotonou, the capital of Benin Republic.
“Apart from the recession that I have been managing; the business environment here is unfriendly especially on issues of double taxation and restrictions on import of tokunbo tyres,’’ Mr. Ngwu said.
Another fresh passport applicant, Charles Okeke, said that he was making a fresh passport for him and his wife to relocate and start life in South Africa.
“Day to day, things continue to get hard while the standard of living continues to drop due to age-long mismanagement of the economy.
“I have discussed with my wife, who agreed that we must leave now that we are relatively financially buoyant before it will be difficult for us to make it out of the country,’’ Mr. Okeke said.
Ifeoma Abraham, a student, said that she was seeking a passport to study in Ghana.
“As you can see, I am no more younger; so I am seeking admission to a Ghanaian university where there would be no issue of strike, which elongates students’ stay in school,’’ Ms. Abraham said.
A teenager, Chike Kalu (18), said that his parents want him to seek admission, study and work in South Africa after his education.
“I have been here on Tuesday with my dad; but I could not do my bio-metric capturing, so I had to return today again.
“My parents want me to study in South Africa and work there. They said there are more prospects for my fine art talent in South Africa,’’ Kalu said.
NAN reports that the renewal or obtaining of international passport, popularly known as ECOWAS Passport, still costs N20,000.