By Emma Ovuakporie
ABUJA â€” The Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Mr Chukwurah Udehm yesterday reiterated that the machine-readable passport would be phased out by December 31 this year, as only e-passports will be used for all international travels.
Speaking to Vanguard, Udeh said, â€œwe know that Nigerians do not always do things at the right time so we in the Service had to put proactive measures in place as we inch towards the deadline this year.
â€œTowards this direction we have opened centres in 15 missions all over the world to help checkmate the expected rush as we do not intend to extend the deadline by one day.â€
He explained further â€œNigerians do not have any excuse not to change to the new e-passports as all the 36 States in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory are all e-passport compliant.â€
On the harmonised ECOWAS passport, the out-going CGI said, â€œwhat the member states did was to make sure the harmonised paper carries the coat of arms of individual countries while the front cover carries the logo of the body.
â€œWe do not intend to extend that of ECOWAS by one day as the harmonised version becomes operational by 1 January 2011, I candidly advise holders of the old one to collect the harmonised passport.â€
On the e-registration of Africans in Nigeria recently conducted by the Immigration, he said, â€œit was primarily designed for us to know our neighbours hence we tagged it operation â€˜know your neighbourâ€™ and it will be carried out in the 36 states of the federation including FCT.