Nigerians decry disparity in passport price in the north and south

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Nigerians have expressed outrage over the 43 percent difference in passport prices between the country’s north and south.
It was gathered that while applicants in the north pay ₦10,750 for the passport booklet, southern applicants are billed ₦25,000 for the same document.
This price difference has sparked outrage among Nigerians, who see it as a regional disparity within the country.
This huge price difference has generated reactions among Nigerians over what seems like regional disparity within the nation.
One of the angry Nigerians, Chinono Bona, a resident of Abuja, stated that it is wrong to have a pricing difference in passport issuance.
Tweeting via his handle, @chinobonanano, he said, “This is very very wrong. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. All northern states are 17,000 while southern states are 25,000 for 32 pages 5 years standard passport. Is there any explanation to this because what you people wrote here is not clear enough.”
Another tweep, @eronwa1 raised a quizzical brow over the differences. “They’re all standard passports, same age bracket, but different prices, what are you talking about,” he quizzed.
Another user, @Kic90Ibeto made allegations that officers in Southern Nigeria demand ₦20,000 extra for processing, asides from ₦25,000 online payments to make ₦45,0000.
He said, “Yet officers with their agents will still top about 20k on top in the south.”
Another concerned Nigerian on Twitter @RayAuto_Konnect who was sorely displeased about the situation lamented that it appears there is now Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria. “Is like we have Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria in one NIGERIA.. first I want to thank the COMRADE who brought this to our notice and secondly I want to ask @nigimmigration Mr Comptroller Sir, Why is Northern Nigeria still issuing old passports while the E-Passport is.”
More Nigerians complained of the delays in getting the passports despite the high procurement price.
Reacting to the outcry, Isah Jere Idris, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service confirmed the pricing difference but described protests as laughable.
Idris in a statement he issued to address the outrage, justified the price difference by stating that the more expensive passports gave certain digital features which allow them to be easily verifiable while those of the northerners are not.
The statement reads partly, “attention has been drawn to some stories about discriminatory Passport charges for Passport applicants in the North and South of the country. The report is not only laughable but also very pedestrian.
“The Passports we issue are for Nigerians irrespective of where they live including those in the diaspora. What we do have are two Passport regimes that are running concurrently. 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 polycarbonate data page, and comes in three categories of 32-page five-year validity (₦25,000), 64-page five-year (₦35000), and 64-page ten-year validity (N70000). It was unveiled sometime in 2019& seven Passport Centres including Ikoyi, Abuja, Alausa, FESTAC, and Portharcourt. Kano and Gwagwalada were immediately migrated to the enhanced Passport regime then.”
“Meanwhile, the electronic Passport is the usual one we have been issuing since the introduction of ePassport in 2007. “
“The fee chargeable ranges from ₦8750-₦17800 depending on the age of the applicant and category of Passport. At the moment, the Service is steadily migrating all its Passport Centres to the enhanced ePassport regime.
To this effect, all the Centres in South-South, South-West&South-East including our Desks in the UK and USA have been fully migrated to the enhanced regime. In the work plan, Centres in the North-West, North-East, Canada&others are getting ready for migration to the enhanced Passport regime very soon.”