Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The Nigeria Immigration Service is planning to embed passports with advanced security features as part of the new security measures to make them tamper-proof.
Our correspondent gathered in Abuja on Thursday that the NIS had engaged experts to evaluate the biometric features of the passport booklets and enhance them further to prevent the cloning of the travel document by terrorists and other criminals.
It was gathered that the NIS was worried by the rising cases of tampering and cloning of the passport, hence the decision to fortify it with new security chips.
Our correspondent could, however, not immediately ascertain if the new security features would lead to an increase in the prices of the various categories of passports being produced by the NIS.
The NIS spokesman, Sunday James, confirmed that the service was considering the idea of adding new security features to the passports.
"We are working to make the Nigerian passports foolproof by enhancing the security features," he explained.
He was, however, silent on whether it would lead to a hike in the prices of the passport booklets.
Currently, a fresh 32-page standard passport goes for N10,750 for children aged 0-17; N17,000 for 18-59 years; N10,750 for senior citizens aged 60 years and above, while the 64-page version is sold for N22,000 flat rate.
Re-issues, including renewals, exhausted validity and damaged booklets, attract the same fees as fresh ones but lost passports go for N20, 000 across all categories.
Meanwhile, the production of children passports has slacked following complaints over the disparity in the prices between the children and the adult passport booklets by the producers.
It was learnt that the booklet producers were no longer supplying enough children passports because they believed they were producing them at a loss.
"The firms complained about the N7, 750 price disparity between children and adult booklets which they said did not make economic or business sense because the two categories of booklets were produced at the same cost," James said.