The number of Nigerians who have departed the shores of this country to foreign lands for several reasons hit 1,777,594 between the month of June, 2013 and June, 2014, THE CITIZEN can report.
According to an Immigration data obtained by our correspondent, this number is higher than 1,589,632 which is the number of other Nigerians that arrived the country via the official border points. The number is higher than 869,710 being the number of foreigners that arrived in the country, while 834,463 departed the within the year under review.
Similarly, 1,369 foreigners were repatriated within the twelve months period, as against 99 Nigerians that were repatriated. But the number of Nigerians that were deported during the period stood at 607, while 8 foreigners were officially deported from the country.
But 213 foreigners were refused entry into Nigeria between June 2013 and June, 2014; while 37 Nigerians were refused entry abroad. The report also shows that within the period, the NIS staff strength was 22,321, of which 4,241 senior staff were promoted to various levels, while 3,994 junior officers were promoted. 723 staff were upgraded or converted, as 490 staff were granted permission for study leave.
Meanwhile, effective from August 1, 2014, Nigerians seeking to obtain international passports will have to pay more as NIS has reviewed the cost. Besides, a 64- page passport that will cater for frequent travellers in the country will also be launched on the same day.
The new passport which will flagged off by President Goodluck Jonathan on July 31, before presentation to the general public the following day, will be used alongside the 32-page passport.
Speaking in Lagos at the weekend, Comptroller General of NIS, David Shikfu Parradang, said changes were very necessary and cost effective with due consideration for children and senior citizens.
According to him, a 64-page passport, will go for N20, 000, while applicants for 32-page passport but below the age of 18, will pay N8, 750 while those between 18 to 60 years will pay N15, 000. Applicants above 60 years applying for a 32-page passport will pay N8, 750.
Parradang added that for change of data/loss of passport, an additional N20, 000 will be paid, while for change of name as a result of marriage, divorce or deceased spouse, will cost N8, 750. Change of data on request will be done at the cost of N30, 000.
He said in order to make the process easier, the service has concluded arrangements to open more offices across the country. Parradang, who expressed concern over the existence of over 1,400 illegal borders across the country, said the service has commenced the biometric registration of foreigners in the country.
He expressed worry over the abuse of diplomatic passport, saying the Immigration Service is fine-tuning a plan, whereby issuance of such passport would be tied to expiration of tenure of office or when removed from such office and not for life.
“We are really considering the option. What we have today is not what it was meant to be. The option will be that once you leave office or retire, you will no longer be entitled to it”, he said.