The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said that a total of 470,000 e-passports has so far been issued to Nigerians at 22 passports issuing centers across the country. Issuance of same e-passports has also commenced in Nigeria’s embassies and high commission abroad.
Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, Nigeria’s High Commissioner in London, who made the disclosure, described the flag-off as an epoch making event and enjoined Nigerians at home and abroad to see the e-passports as an instrument that would improve the country’s battered image abroad. He also reiterated government’s resolve to ensure that the fee for the e-passport is affordable and process stress-free.
In a statement issued at the corporate headquarters of NIS in Abuja and made available to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Mr. Chukwurah Odeh, comptroller-general of Nigeria Immigration Service, was quoted as saying that the e-passport has successfully addressed the issue of identity theft as the biometric features of the holder of the passport is encrypted in a chip which is, in turn, embedded in the passport.
"This information is stored in the central data base of the service using the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Therefore, it will be futile for anyone to hold more than one passport or use another person’s passport, no matter the resemblance", Odeh said.
The flag-off ceremony which was performed by Dr. Tafida, was witnessed by Ambassador Dazie Nwana, Deputy High Commissioner, Alhaji Abdulrahman Salladeen, Head of Chancery, Mr. Bamidele Banjoko, Chief of Protocol at High Commission, Mr. Bayo Akolade, Assistant Comptroller-General of Immigration (Passport), Dr. Abani Mark, Chairman of Central Association of Nigerians in United Kingdom and representatives of Nigerian business community in London.
Fifty Nigerians were issued with the e-passports during the flag-off ceremony.