The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), FESTAC Office, has begun the issuance of new Enhanced e-Passports as part of efforts to enable Nigerians to have expanded avenue to apply for International Passports.
The service also inaugurated a new edifice for the purpose and the official rollout of first Enhanced e-Passport in the FESTAC, Lagos, Office.
The Comptroller-General of Immigration Service (CGIS), Muhammed Babandede, said he was delighted that Festac Passport office was able to achieve such a great feat in spite of challenges.
Mr Babandede, who was represented by Doris Braimah, an Assistant Comptroller-General, said he was happy that Festac office had been translated to modern edifice suitable for the production of the enhanced e-Passport.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Enhanced e-Passport replaced the Machine-Readable e-Passport.
“The Enhanced e-Passport is part of the new reforms approved by the Federal Government.
“It is an intensive review of the former e-passport booklet which has been in circulation for over 10 years and has only 5-year validity,” he said.
NAN reports that the CGIS, in his productivity drive on September 30, had deployed Deputy Comptroller of Immigration (DCI), Adeola Adesokan, and some personnel from the service headquarters to overhaul the operations at FESTAC office.
The CGIS said that Festac Passport Office was established in May 2001 to meet the needs of Nigerians in South-west.
“We knew that the Nigeria Passport has metamorphosed from manually written booklets to Machine-Readable e-Passport and now enhanced e-Passport.
”All these have been taken into consideration in order to meet the global operational standards at each season,” Mr Babandede said.
According to the CGIS, the new Enhanced e-Passport has been rolled out in seven locations since 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari officially launched it.
“Lagos earlier had two which are Ikoyi and Alausa Passport offices. However, we are now rolling out the third one in FESTAC.
“All these were duly considered by NIS bearing in mind of the state strategic relevance of Lagos.
“Lagos state houses three borders which are sea, land and air. Lagos is a state of commerce,” the NIS boss said.
According to Mr Babandede, the new Enhanced e-Passport has various features such as Enhanced and self-tracking of application.
“Polycarbonate Technology that eliminates damages and Enhanced security features and compliance with the latest International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
“Ten years validity that saves one from frequent visits to passport offices, automation of issuance process to bring about transparency, addresses touting and it is strictly online payment based.
“Notable among the requirements is the link with National Identity Number (NIN) as it enhances the national security in terms of data management among others,” he said.
The Passport Comptroller of FESTAC thanked the CGIS for the opportunity to lead the office.