By Philomina Attah, Abuja.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has dismissed as fake, reports of alleged discriminatory charges for passport, saying charges for the document are the same across the country.
The reaction is conveyed via the verified Twitter handle of NIS on Thursday.
Some online media reports had claimed that there was huge disparity in the cost of passport between states, citing examples of Ekiti and Kaduna, where the charge was N25,000 and N10,750 respectively, for the 32-page five-year Standard Passport.
The Service, however, clarified that Kaduna State was still on electronic mode and had yet to be linked to the enhanced e-Passport Centre, hence the disparity in the charges.
It, therefore, dismissed the report as not only laughable but also very pedestrian.
“The attention of the Comptroller-General, NIS, Mr Isah Jere, has been drawn to some stories about discriminatory passport charges for passport applicants in the North and South of the country.
“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. 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 for N25,000, 64-page. five-year validity for N35,000 and 64-page, 10-year validity for N70,000.
“It was unveiled sometime in 2019 and in seven Passport Centres, including Ikoyi, Abuja, Alausa, FESTAC, Port Harcourt, Kano and Gwagwalada that were immediately migrated to the enhanced Passport regime then,” it said.
The NIS further explained that the electronic Passport was the usual one the country had been issuing since the introduction of e-Passport in 2007.
“The fee chargeable range from N8,750 to N17,800, 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 e-Passport regime.
“To this effect, all the centres in South-South, South-West and South-East (geopolitical zones), including our desks in the UK and U.S.A have been fully migrated to the enhanced regime.
“In the work plan, centres in the North-West, North-East, Canada and others are getting ready for migration to the enhanced Passport regime very soon,” the statement added.
The NIS advised those peddling such baseless narratives to get educated by the clarification.