By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Government has rolled out the new enhanced passport and commissioned the central Passport Production Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Speaking at the launch of the passport, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said Nigerians living in Canada will now have access to the highly coveted 64-page 10-year validity passport.
According to him, Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world to have this enhanced passport and the first in Africa.
“The enhanced version we are presenting is the latest technology in identity documentation. It comes with additional security and in various categories, including the 64-page-10-year validity Passport which is quite convenient for frequent travellers.
“It is a product of the latest technology in passport administration and issuance. Only very few countries in the world can boast of it as of today. Indeed, Nigeria is among the first five countries in the world and the first in Africa to have this enhanced e-passport. The document is of higher grade with additional 25 security features than the one currently in use. It is polycarbonate in design and therefore water-resistant. It cannot be compromised by counterfeiters and identity thieves,” the Minister quoted by his Special Adviser on Media, Sola Fasure.
Aregbesola commended the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada for his commitment to ensuring that Canada had its own passport production centre, stating that with the new enhanced passport, Nigerians will now apply, pay and book appointment online directly from the Nigeria Immigration Service Portal.
“It is important that all applicants go through the Nigeria Immigration Service portal and follow the protocol laid down, pay the right fee and go for biometric data capture on the stipulated date. The waiting period after data capture for fresh application is six weeks and three weeks for renewal. This timeline is to enable NIS verify and validate the claims of applicants and confer integrity on the passport issued. It is a reasonable provision in passport administration by global standard.
“It is important also that your details with NIN sync with the data on your application. Any discrepancy will stall your application until it is corrected. The order of the appearance of the applicant’s name especially has been an albatross for many. We have introduced tracking mechanism in the application process, to enable applicants monitor the progress of their application. We shall continue to introduce necessary and available innovations to passport administration in order to best serve applicants in our quest for establishing citizenship integrity”, the Minister stated.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Adeyinka Asekun in his remarks, commended Aregbesola and the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Idris Jere, for their commitment to the launch of the enhanced passport in Canada.
He said Nigerians in Canada now have access to 64-page 10-year validity passport which is only available in the United Kingdom and United States of America outside of Nigeria.
“I thank the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and the Immigration team for accepting to roll-out the enhanced passport in Canada as the third country to be a beneficiary of the enhanced passport outside of Nigeria and ahead of other nations, including in Europe.
“I will advise that Nigerians living in Canada should apply for the 64-page 10-year validity and you can apply at least one year before the expiration of the current passport”, the High Commissioner stated.
Also speaking during the event, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Idris Isah Jere, noted that until all applications on the old platforms are cleared, the Passport Issuing Desk in Canada will continue to issue both documents concurrently.
“May I mention that the Enhanced e-Passport and the Electronic Passports are both running currently until a convenient time when all our Centres would have been fully migrated to the enhanced e-Passport noting that cases of delays in processing Passports will be taken care of, provided applicants abide strictly with the application guidelines by ensuring that they make use of the online application and payment platform, as well as synchronize the data on their passport application with their information in their National Identity Number (NIN),” CG Idris Jere said.
At the event were Nigerians living in Canada, diplomats, technical partners, immigration attachés amongst others.