By Esther Onyebgula
Several weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan charged officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), at the official launch of the newly introduced 64-page Nigerian e-passport at the Presidential Vila, to work towards projecting the country in a positive light by conducting themselves in a more professional manner, NIS is employing appropriate strategy to tackle the challenges in obtaining e-passport.
Although faced with the initial teething problems occasioned by the introduction of the new e-passport reforms, the NIS has appealed to Nigerians to be patient and support the NIS to serve them better.
The change has caused some hardship for applicants seeking new passports or renewal of old ones. Among the problems are long queues at passports offices, with applicants complaining of delays.
Reacting to the public outcry, the Comptroller-General of NIS, David Paradang, while appealing for patience and understanding, said just like any organisation with such problems, the service was doing its best to address the challenges.
According to him, Nigeria is the first country in Africa and the 50th in the world to begin the use of the electronic passport with enhanced security features, saying to further secure the integrity of the e-passport and enhance its quality, the Federal Government had approved major reforms with attendant cost implications.
The reforms are e-passport for persons below 18 years to cost N8,750, that of persons between the ages of 18 to 60, N15,000, and that for persons of ages 60 and above to cost N8,750.
Change of data/lost e-passport to cost N20,000, change of name as a result of marriage, divorce and deceased spouse to cost N8,750, and change of data on request, N30,000. He said that all payments are to be made online.