The Worth Of A Nigerian Passport By Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa

By Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa

“These are to request and require in the name of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all those who it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him or her every assistance and protection of which he or she may stand in need.” Adorned with such a beautifully worded presidential note, the Nigerian passport is presumably a very valuable booklet that is supposed to facilitate its holder’s movement around the world with dignity and respect.

Also, ostensibly in order to ensure that only Nigerians enjoy the privilege of obtaining it, the passport has been enhanced with advanced security mechanisms and protection features making it an e-passport in its current improved booklet design, which make it technically superior to those of many countries around the world. However, Nigeria reportedly introduced it under pressure from some western countries, which had lamented the high rate of forgery of the old passport; hence they put pressure on Nigeria to switch to an e-passport with a view to checking such practices. Anyway, though the process of issuing it is still corruption-ridden, which enables many non-Nigerians obtain it; the Nigerian passport remains the most reliable national identity document for Nigerians both inside and outside the country.

Incidentally, a passport could be simple or advanced in features yet the worth of a country is greatly determined by the extent to which its passport is respected in different countries around the world. Consequently, as a holder of a Nigerian passport, one begins to realize how much Nigeria matters in the eyes of the world and indeed how much Nigerians are worth compared to other nationals around the world. This occurs the moment he plans to embark on a journey outside the country especially to a country that imposes some requirements in advance, e.g. visa for Nigerian passport holders.

Unfortunately, it is right from that point that he would begin to realize that, despite such presidential request and all such advanced technical features in a Nigeria passport, it is hardly if at all worth the papers it is made up of. The unfortunate irony is that, the Nigerian passport actually derives its value (if any) primarily from the number of foreign countries’ visas in it and of course the value of the countries which issued the visas.

The ridiculously strict and sometimes impossible visa application requirements imposed by various countries on Nigerian passport holders, the period it takes in “visa processing”, the validity period of the visa (if granted), the discriminatory scrutiny its holder goes through at foreign airports and the amount (if any) of recognition he gets from individuals and institutions in foreign countries, say it all about the actual worth of Nigerian passport, and by implication, its holder, as they also indicate how much disdain such countries have for Nigeria and Nigerians. Needless to say, these discriminatory practices frustrate legitimate pursuits and jeopardize lawful interests of many Nigerians wishing to travel for various reasons.

Though occasionally Nigerian authorities protest over such prejudiced treatment against Nigerian passport holders abroad, especially when they (i.e. Nigerian authorities) come under sustained criticism for their typical indifferent attitude towards such unjustified treatments. They have, however, never been serious enough to get such countries to comply accordingly. Instead the whole outcry simply dies down amid empty promises coated in diplomatic press releases while the status-quo continues.

Worse still, is while this unfortunate status-quo persists, it continues to take its toll on the attitudes of many Nigerian travelers, because as they endure it, its impacts continue to gradually but consistently undermine their natural self-esteem and infect them with the sense of inferiority. Many Nigerians abroad unconsciously and spontaneously display this feeling, hence they indirectly contribute to the way they are unjustifiably suspected, harassed and even persecuted.

Meanwhile, the brazen indifference shown by Nigerian officials towards this situation could be attributed to –among other things- the fact that  they hold official and diplomatic passports, which even though hardly guarantees them the maximum privilege typically given to such passport holders from other countries, they nonetheless enjoy relatively much better treatment than the standard passport holders. Incidentally, this explains why even those who don’t necessarily need such official or diplomatic passports obtain them by hook or by crook and continue to use them and indeed get them renewed over and over again even after losing their various official positions that qualified them to obtain such documents.

Admittedly however, the quite embarrassing notoriety of Nigeria as a brand all over world, which unfortunately influences the way many people around the world form their first impression of them, is particularly responsible for this virtual global disregard for them in general. Unfortunately, the persistent leadership failure in the country has left many honest and hardworking Nigerians with no other option but to look elsewhere with the hope of achieving their various academic, professional and other entrepreneurial potentials. In the meantime, some criminal elements among them make it to many foreign countries around the world where they engage in criminal activities that tarnish or rather worsen the notoriety of the country’s already awful image.

It is quite unfortunate that while geographical boarders are literally crumbling in the context of globalization to the extent that an increasing number of countries are not only abolishing the need for visas between them but are also dispensing with the need for even the passports altogether in favour of only national ID cards, the Nigerian passport continues to hold back and indeed frustrate many promising Nigerians from joining such global trends hence they face restrictions on their chances of achieving their potential.

In order to regain its lost respect, Nigeria has no alternative than to affect a radical and comprehensive reform in all aspects of its national endeavor, which should primarily focus on attitudinal reform in the first place as well as vigorous promotion of the sense of responsibility particular among the elite. Anything short of that would only prolong and indeed worsen the status quo.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters
 

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Nigeria passport

This is what is killing this county, you are so myopic that you don't see beyond your nose. You mean yahoo-yahoo, 419, prostitution and all these vises that damaged Nigeria's image since time immemorial are no problems simply becos they are synonymous with southerners. SHAME TO YOU.

Furry of Boko haram alone rubbishes Nigeria's passport

Sorry, the international furry generated by Boko Haram alone, the clandestine meetings and scheming for apex political power by Nigeria's ethnic groups, -especially Arewa group- which show that Nigeria is one country only in name; the act of the underwear bomber, Mutallab; the murderous and backward tilt of Nigeria's Islamic group ---- all these do rubbish Nigeria's passport and make holders of it suspects anywhere. Mind you, Yahoo yahoo people, drug people and scamers are mere criminals that can be found in every country. Nigeria is a country discountenanced by the civilized world. Know it. No amount of window dressing can revive or re-brand Nigeria, so long as the murderous but unpunished perpetrators of the killings that daily take place in Nigeria is not stopped. Note: Saner ones are only held against their will (sinful) by force in One Nigeria because a way out of it is yet to surface.

Nigeria.......

Well for a start, it kind of baffels me to see that all these Southern viruses ever think is breaking up, "lets break up now", "lets have our away"; enough these tunnes, they have become(sawa). I mean cant they just get it to thier unpriveledged tick skull of theres that they are nothing without us the "North". We make it worthwhile for there living in the first place. Nigeria, if I have to pin it down to your brain, @sultanofsokoto(not verified, ofcourse how can that be), is more than your imaginations or evil-side talks and write-ups, this is a country where even the President can never be the last man standing, is a place that dares everyone; try and see. Even your inlaw Deri cant even get close to the border.

This is a time for us to make an amends and fix all the pot-holes before is too late, not actually for our sake but for the sake of our future Generations. A word should be enough for the wise, or else.......

Not 'Crappy'

Mr. Crap, I don't think the article is that crap as you summarized by yourself. You seems to be looking into the bottle with one eye closed and seeing through the other eye... I would not totally discredit this article but sees it as a wake up to the holder of Nigerian passport and the person issuing it. That all those scam etc are done by Nigerians are no news or better still that same thing is done all over the world by irresponsible citizens. Unfortunately, Nigerians own are either widely reported or unjustly reported. I have many fatal cases of citizens of the world doing scam of higher magnitude; only the frequency of occurrence and the lackluster attitude of our leaders to do the right thing at the right time is forcing Nigerians to do this evil; either home or abroad... to me its a wake up call to all.

Learn to read clearly

If you read the last paragraph of that article. You will see that you and the writer are saying the same thing. So I wonder what your calling crap.

i read ur reply †Φ D̶̲̥̅ article

Your response sir puts period †Φ T̶̲̥̅̊h̶̲̥̅̊e̶̲̥̅̊
Full Ǻn̶̲̥̅̊ԃ short of T̶̲̥̅̊h̶̲̥̅̊e̶̲̥̅̊ above article.
Plainly put respect yourself before
Others can respect ƔϑU̶̲̥̅̊. That no be
Govt fault at all...no vex sir.

CRAP 2 ?

btween you and the first writer, who is the CRAP, you just repeated the write sermon, i you saying both of you are CRAP or you are the biger CRAP ? (sic)

Leadership shows the

Leadership shows the direction

one Negeriah!

Hahaha, is your name not MOHAMMED right? You just forgot to mention ISLAM and UNDERWEAR BOMBER. By or latest 2015, you the NORTH can keep the name NIGERIA and of course your green passport cos we the others will ALL be gone

Sorry Nigeria is ranked the

Sorry Nigeria is ranked the 35th most corrupt country in the world.With the vast wealth in the country, the Nigerian passport is supposed to be among the most respected in the world- VISA free to everywhere.Right now, Nigerian passport can only earn you VISA free to hell. Nigeria is H-E-L-L! Sorry I still love Nigeria small.

@ Crap Why do you think this

@ Crap Why do you think this people engage in this your so called perpetration of crime and other things it because we dont have God fearing people as leaders and i am very sure if you happen to be a leader you will act the same way this people are acting you read and let it be settled in your head................Ogbeni jooooooooooooo

CRAP

Have u finished bluffing? Our passport is not our problem rather the act of those who hold the passport. Some Nigerians travel out of the country to perpetrate crimes such as drug peddling,terrorism internet scam, scam marriages and others...when they are eventually caught it brings bad image to Nigeria.....so for our passport to be respected, we Nigerians need to change our attitude towards some bad activities...currently Nigeria is ranked 139th most corrupt country by transparency international in the world corruption index and no country in its right sense will grant citizens of Nigeria free movement into their country without proper scrutiny. Corruption, terrorism, Internet scam and fraud, Marriage scams abroad, Kidnapping and all other evil social vices must be stopped before our passport can be recognized.