Fed Govt launches 64-page e-passport
• Jonathan advises Immigration officers at airports
The Federal Government launched the new 64-page e-passport yesterday to reduce the suffering of Nigerian travellers.
The new travel document will be used with the existing 32-page e-passport.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo were issued their new passports yesterday after their data were captured before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting started at the State House in Abuja.
Jonathan urged Immigration officers to be efficient in their duty.
The President said the impression they give visitors at the points of entry, such as the airports, has some effects on the nation’s image.
He advised the service to end the complaints of Nigerians abroad by making it easier for them to get their passports.
Jonathan said: “I always sympathised with those who travel almost weekly, changing passport every month. At least, we have moved a step forward. The key thing is for us to have a robust relationship with key countries so that some of these frequent travellers may not need visas. That will really help us more.
“One thing we must know today is that it is not the issue of 64-page passport that is key to Nigerians but the security. If our passport could be easily faked by criminals, then we will have problems. One thing again is that how can Nigerians get the passport easily, especially those living outside this country?
“When I travel, there is this complaint about how to get the Nigerian passport. It’s not necessarily the issue of 64-page passport but how do they get passport. So, the ministry (of Interior) must look into this.
“What affects every traveller is how efficient and committed our Immigration officers work at our airports. Visitors …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. So, their conduct at the airports is key, besides the passport.”
The President urged Nigerians, including those in government, the media and the civil society, to work for the improved image of the country.
He said: “I always say that when people continue to paint their country with all kinds of colours, that is the way foreigners 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. It should not be that when you raise your green passport, people will begin to think that that it signifies 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.”
Interior Minister Abba Moro said the new e-passport is part of the Federal Government’s commitment to giving seamless service delivery to Nigerians wherever they are.
He said: “The introduction of the 64-page Nigerian e-passport …is, to say the least, a demand-driven initiative to meet the needs of frequent Nigerian travellers. Based on some recommendations arising from the operational experiences of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Ministry of Interior recently approved some reforms concerning the Nigerian e-passport, including the newly introduced 64-page.
“The fundamental rationale behind the reforms is to enhance the integrity of Nigerian travel documents and the image of the Nigerian traveller anywhere in the world.
“Appropriate strategies are being put in place to sensitise the public on the new e-passport reforms to enhance full implementation after this official launch by Mr. President.”
Addressing State House correspondents, Immigration’s Comptroller-General David Parradang said the 64-page passport would last for five years before renewal, just like the standard 32-page passport.
Hen said the 64-page passport, which will officially be issued to the public as from tomorrow, is meant for heavy travellers.
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