President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the new Nigerian international passport, which has 25 features that differentiates it from the old passport.
The new passport was launched on Tuesday at an emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Buhari.
Minister of Interior Abdurahaman Dambazzau, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the validity of the Nigerian passport has now been extended for 10 years for citizens who would want longer validity.
“We realized too that most Nigerians in the diaspora have been hammering on the issue of 10-year validity passport because we have had five-year validity passport.
“So, we considered that to make the passport 10-year validity. As long as it is not filled up, you can use your passport for 10 years before renewal.”
Dambazzau said the new the need to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation stipulations and security challenges necessitated the production of the new passport.
“You know things are dynamic in technology and ICAO also brought out additional features which we have to comply with as early as possible for security reasons.
“We have series of cross border issues to deal with and series of challenges in terms of border security and management.
“And one of the ways to do that, in addition to biometrics, we have introduced is to ensure that our passport contains all these security features at least to make it foolproof against identity theft and against any criminal to use it to sneak into the country or out of the country.
“This is the reason we came up with policy in the ministry and we looked at it as against the standard that is required and we came out with additional features.”
According to Dambazzau, the production of the new passport would be domesticated to tackle the challenges associated with producing it outside the country, which has been the case in the past.
“We thought that for couple of reason that it is an issue we must, as a matter of policy, find a way to sought it out.
“One for security reasons, it is important that we domesticate passport production.
“Two, it would also provide opportunity for employment of Nigerians because if you take it to is the country that will benefit, employment wise.
“The third reason is the possibility of introducing technology or technology transfer. So, we took a decision that we must do that.”
The minister said the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, already provides platform for the production of the new passport in Nigeria.
He said the colours of the passports would remain the same with the standard passport, which is issued to Nigerian citizens, as green, the official passport issued to Nigerians who work government as blue, while the diplomatic passport issued to ministers and presidents remain red.
Also speaking, the Controller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede, said that there are 25 differences between the old and the new passports.
“Some of them you don’t need to know, but those you need to know are very simple.
“The first, if you look at the passport, it easily fades; this has been improved.
“If you look at the other passport it was for laminating. We have improved the features.
“Also, sometimes when you go to the airport, they cannot read your passport when your are crossing the border.
“We have improved the chip to be more secured. There are other features which you don’t need.
Babandede said the standard passport would have 32-page booklet for five years.
He said the cost of obtaining it would be N25,000, while it would be issued for $130abroad.
He said the 64-page booklet for five years would cost N35,000 in Nigeria and $150 dollars abroad.
The 64-page for 10 years, will cost N70,000 in Nigeria and $230 dollars abroad.
The Official passport will cost N15,000 but it cannot be issue abroad.
Also, the diplopmatic passport is not paid for since it is issued gratis.
It is not issued abroad.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was also at the briefing, agreed that the emergency meeting was called for the consideration of a new national minimum wage.
He however, said the minimum wage “is work in progress” and it would be discussed by the National Economic Council before it would be announced to the media.