The federal government says the newly launched enhanced e-passport will improve the application process for Nigerians in the country and abroad, and curb forgery.
In a statement by Sola Fasure, media adviser to Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, the official launch of the enhanced e-passport took place at the Nigerian High Commission in London, UK.
“What we have come to do here (UK) is symbolic of the core mandate of the ministry and indeed the Federal Government of Nigeria affirmation of citizenship integrity,” he said.
“As we are all aware, there have been huge challenges in passport administration, from the shortage of booklet to touting and an economy of corruption built around it.
“These challenges have persisted for too long and a lot of people have become cynical while others have taken them as normal and then roll with it.
“I do not believe that any problem is insurmountable, so we are going to solve all the problems associated with passport administration and we are already succeeding.”
Aregbesola said the new e-passport was a “huge improvement” over the standard passport introduced fourteen years ago.
The minister said it has more sophisticated security features, making it one of the most secure passports in the world.
“The enhanced e-passport is a great improvement on the biometric passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a strategic step towards curbing forgery. Impersonation and other forms of fraud associated with obtaining travel documents under the old machine-readable passport regime,” he said.
“We are aware that technology rules the world and we are keeping abreast of the latest developments in the field.
“Over the years, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) had worked assiduously and in close synergy with Messrs Iris Smart Technologies Limited to develop and implement passport reforms.”
Aregbesola said the new passport regimes are in tandem with international best practices, including extant International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Standards and Regulations.
Isa Jere, the acting comptroller-general of NIS, in his remarks, expressed the service’s readiness to meet the demands for passports in the UK.
Jere said his officers are ready to roll out the new passports at the official rate published on the NIS website.
“We are ready to serve the public and start rolling out the new enhanced e-passport in the UK with immediate effect. Our staff are professionals and will deliver excellent service to our citizens,”.
“Those who have any complaints whatsoever are advised to use the publicly listed complaints channels to adequately resolve any issues raised.”, he said.