President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria has moved a step forward as the federal government launches a new 64 page e-passport.
Speaking during the event held at the Presidential Villa, Jonathan said the key thing was for Nigeria to have a robust relationship with key countries so that frequent travellers may not need visas.
“One thing one must know today is that it is not the issue of 64-page passport that is key to Nigerians but the security. If our passport could be easily faked by criminals, then we will have problems. One thing again is that how can Nigerians are able to get passport easily especially those living outside this country.
“When I travel there is this complaint about how to get the Nigerian passport not necessarily the issue of 64-page passport but how do they get passport so the ministry must look into this.
“What affects every traveller is how efficient and committed our immigration officers work at our airports, visitors that come into the country have different impressions about our immigration officers, so they must improve, they are the image of this country, how they handle visitors matters so much, if they conduct themselves poorly, it reflects on all of us, so their conduct at the airports are key besides the passport”, the president said.
He said the new 64-page e-passport is specially designed for frequent travelers as well as business persons. Speaking at the event which held shortly before the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, the president also urged Nigerians to paint good pictures of their country so that others would see it in the same light.
“The issue of the image of the country is what we will all work for, both people in government, the media and civil society and I always say that when people continue to paint their country with all kinds of colours, that is the way they will associate those colours with your green passport.
“I want a situation that whenever you travel to another country and you raise your green passport, people will appreciate you and not when you raise your green passport, people will begin to think that that green passport signify some suspicious character.
“We are not helping ourselves when we paint ourselves the colours that we are (not) supposed to bear. I wish to continue to appeal to all Nigerians that we must all collectively learn how we do our things, statements that we make, to paint brighter colours for our green passport” he said.
The President added that the security of the Nigerian travel document was very important. “If our passport could be easily faked by criminals, then we will have problems. One thing again is that how can Nigerians be able to get passport easily especially those living outside this country,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan said the federal government would look into ways that the country would form a robust relationship with key countries so that some of the frequent Nigerian travellers may not need visas to travel.