FG launches temporary passport for diaspora Nigerians

THE Nigerian government, on Tuesday, launched a temporary passport that replaces the paper-type Emergency Travel Certificate for Nigerians in the diaspora.

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, who chaired the launch at the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja, said the e-document would be issued at Nigerian embassies and high commissions to Nigerians with an urgent need to return home but whose national passports were either lost or expired.

Aregbesola added that the document, which had validity for 30 days, would also address the needs of Nigerians abroad being returned home by their host countries without valid passports.

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    In his remarks, Muhammed Babandede, comptroller general of Immigration, noted that the introduction of the document was another way of engaging with the diaspora population with a view to addressing their emergency travel needs, stressing that the document could be issued to applicants irrespective of age.

    The-four-page electronic passport, which has all the features of the standard passport, is designed for a one-way travel to Nigeria and is expected to be surrendered to the immigration authorities at the port of entry on arrival into the country.

    Sunday James, spokesperson for the NIS,  confirmed to our correspondent that the new e-passport could only be issued upon proof of citizenship, genuineness of the stated emergency and would invalidate any pre-existing passport.

    The event was attended by members of the diplomatic community, including the envoys from the United States, Mary Berth Leonard; her counterpart from the United Kingdom, Naeem Khan; the Canadian High Commissioner, Nicolas Simard; the doyen of the Diplomatic Corp and Cameroon high commissioner to Nigeria, Salaheddine Abbas, and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel Aduda, among others.

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