By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja – The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has called for speedy implementation of the 10-year validity period for Nigerian passport recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The President of the union, Mr Adetola Olubajo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that the development was welcomed and a right measure.
Adetola, who commended President Buhari for the initiative called for safeguards against exploitation of Nigerians most especially those in the Diaspora, saying there was the need for proper monitoring.
According to him, the development will make Nigeria be on the same page with other countries.
“Concrete measures should also be put in place to avoid ripping off Nigerians most especially those of us in Diaspora,” he said.
He noted that the approval was an answer to the prayers of the union.
He said that NUSA had in the past written to the Federal Government to extend the validity period of the passport to 10 years.
Olubajo explained that the union also made representation for the extension of the validity period of passport to President Buhari during his state visit to South Africa in 2015.
According to him, NUSA made representation for the extension of the validity period of passport during the visit of former Comptroller General (CG) of NIS, Mr Martin Abeshi, to Johannesburg
“The union also presented the issue during the state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
“It is with great pleasure and jubilation that we received the news on the development from CG of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede,” he said.
NAN reports that Babandede, on July 26 announced that President Buhari had approved the extension of validity of Nigeria’s international passport from five to 10 years.
He said that with the approval, the Federal Government could now enter bilateral agreement with other countries for 10 years visa.
The CG said that this would mean less work for the service and that the people will have to pay more.
“President has approved a lot of reforms; one of the reforms is 10 years validity for the passport for adults from the age of 18 upward.
“This is great news for Nigerians in the Diaspora, because they have been yearning for this.
“The National Assembly had submitted proposal several times that the passport should be 10 years like other countries of the world, the president has approved that,” Babandede said.
The CG also noted that in the past months there had been issues with shortage of the booklet, but that has been sorted out.
He said that the best solution was to produce the passport here in the country and the NIS is working on the process.
“Passport has to be produced in Nigeria, there will be a passport factory in Nigeria,” Babandede said.