Nigerians in the Diaspora have been urged to show more caution and care in the way they treat Nigerian International Passports as many may find it difficult to obtain the new e-Passport if lost or misplaced.
The nation’s Ministry of Interior claimed it viewed with concern a situation whereby many Nigeria’s abroad are passing through rigors because of lack of credible information about themselves and the history of the previously obtained passports when lost or misplaced.
Lack of verified information about old passports have constituted delays or lack of action as Embassy officials in some cases refused issuance due to false or unverified declaration of information .
Obtaining the new International Passport to many abroad has been like that of a horse passing through the biblical needle’s eye with many traveling from outside the city capital seeking for a new ECOWAS-Passport getting disappointed because many important informations are not supplied and procedures ignored or by-passed.
The Permanent Secretary of the Nigeria’s Interior Ministry, Anastasia Daniel-Nwabia, speaking in London during a Passport issuing monitoring visit claimed that such lack of verified information by applicants has been identified as the main reason behind the rejection of many passport applications by Nigeria embassy officials across the world.
“The loss of the e-passport is one of the major problems we are having,” she said. “It forms about 90 per cent rejection of applicants. If you lose your passport, you must convince the officials at the embassies before a new one could be re-issued”, she said.
She described the new system of passport issuance through electronic documentation as very “sensitive”, pointing out that the e-passport has controlled the issue of duplication and fraud which had been common in the past. Many non- Nigerians also have been issued the old passport which had been abused through commission of fraud and as the Secretary has put it, the new system has drastically reduced such abuse and illegal issuance to non-Nigerians.
She also advised those with running visas on their lost passports, to get new visas as soon as they are re-issued the e-passport to avoid embarrassment.
Ms. Daniel-Nwabia, who had earlier visited South Africa and the U.S. had commended Nigerians for being patriotic in seeking for Nigerian passports commending their passion and dedication to the nation.
She described the Nigeria’s response to the new passport abroad as very impressive.
“We were also in South Africa and a lot of people turned up to get the e-passport,” she said.
According to her, many Nigerians in the Diaspora had been successful in obtaining their new e-passport without much rigors since the expiration of the machine-readable passport last year because they towed the right lines of its requirements.
She expressed satisfaction that with the biometric security features on the new e-passport, the issue of abuse had been stamped out for good.
The Nigerian Immigration Service introduced the e-passport in 2007 to check the growing cases of forgery and duplication of the old passport.