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NIS reveals reason for disparity in passport cost in south, north



The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has denied having discriminatory passport fees after disclosures that charges vary depending on the states Nigerians apply from, with the South being more expensive, compared to the North.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that residents in Ekiti State are charged N25,000 for Standard Passport Booklet of 32 Pages for age group of 0-17 years, but the same Passport cost N8,750 for residents in Kaduna State.

In a statement clarifying the disparity on Thursday, NIS said two types of passports are issued to applicants depending on their states, disclosing that an electronic passport is issued to the North and enhanced electronic passport to the South.

According to the NIS, enhanced electronic passport is more expensive than the electronic passport, hence, the cost varying between the southern and northern regions.

The decision was criticised by Nigerians on social networking site, Twitter, with many saying that placing the two regions on separate platforms increased the cost burden of people living in the South.

However, NIS said the North will soon be migrated on to the enhanced electronic passport platform. According to the statement, the service stated, “The attention of the Comptroller General Isah Jere Idris has been drawn to some stories about discriminatory Passport charges for Passport applicants in the North and South of the country.

“The report is not only laughable but also very pedestrian. The Passports we issue are for Nigerians irrespective of where they live including those in the diaspora. What we do have are two Passport regimes that are running concurrently. They are the electronic Passport and enhanced electronic Passport.

Read also: Fire razes Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters in Abuja

“The latter is an improvement of the former. It is a product of the latest technology in Passport issuance. It has improved security features, a poly carbonate data page and comes in three categories of 32-page five-year validity (N25,000), 64-page five- year (N35000) and 64-page ten-year validity (N70000). It was unveiled sometime in 2019 & seven Passport Centres including Ikoyi, Abuja, Alausa, FESTAC, Port harcourt. Kano & Gwagwalada were immediately migrated to the enhanced Passport regime then.

“Meanwhile, the electronic Passport is the usual one we have been issuing since the introduction of ePassport in 2007. The fee chargeable range from N8750-N17800 depending on age of the applicant and category of Passport. At the moment, the Service is steadily migrating all its Passport Centres to the enhanced ePassport regime.

“To this effect, all the Centres in South-South, South-West&South-East including our Desks in the UK&USA have been fully migrated to the enhanced regime. In the work plan, Centres in the North-West, North-East, Canada&others are getting ready for migration to the enhanced Passport regime very soon.

“We therefore, like to reiterate that there is absolutely no discriminatory Passport fees anywhere on our platform. We advise those peddling such empty narrative to get educated by this clarification please.” the NIS statement reads.

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