Nigerian passports cheaper in northern Nigeria compared to southern counterpart
It has come to light that the Nigeria Immigration Service charges more for the issuance of passports in the southern region of the country compared to the North, further highlighting accusations of regional favouritism under President Muhammadu Buhari.
A review of the offerings on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) website by Peoples Gazette on Thursday showed that there is generally a price differential of at least N10, 000 on all categories of passports issued in northern states as against the South.
Specifically, a 32-page passport for persons between zero to 17 years costs N10,750 in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.
The same passport is issued at the rate of N25,000 for those in the southern region in states like Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Rivers.
A 64-page passport in the teenagers category in the aforementioned northern states goes for N22,000 while southerners in the same age group are expected to pay N35,000 to obtain the mandatory travel document.
Persons between 18 to 59 years applying for a 32-page passport with 5 years validity pay N17,000 and in the North whereas their southern counterparts pay N25,000 for the same document.
While a 64-page passport for the 18 to 59 age group is issued at the rate of N22,000 in the northern region, southerners are asked to pay N35,000.
Although, northerners in this age group cannot access a 10-year validity passport, southerners are billed N70,000 for the document.
Northerners aged 60 and above applying for a 32-page passport are expected to pay N10,750 and N22,000 for a 64-page passport. Their counterparts in the South pay N25,000 and N35,000.
There has been longstanding allegations of nepotism against Mr Buhari. The Katsina-born ruler has been accused of favouring his northern base in choice federal appointments and government policies.
Isah Jere, the NIS comptroller-general, is one of the nine northern heads of Nigeria’s 12 core security agencies.
Meanwhile, the NIS has dismissed allegations of discriminatory charges in the issuance of passports at its northern and southern offices.
In a post on its official Twitter handle on Thursday, the Service claims that the noticed cost disparity is facilitated by the different passport regimes being concurrently run at its offices.
“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 for N35,000 and 64-page 10-year validity for N70,000.”
The Service further explained that “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.”
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Ms Balogun-Alexander has more than 30 years of experience working on and leading humanitarian, peace and development projects at a senior level globally.