Thursday, January 24,2019
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has kicked against the move by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to raise the price of new International passport to N70, 000 effective for March 4th, 2019. TUC, in a statement sent to Daily Times and signed by the National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama said it is condemnable and insensitive on the part of the agency. “The Congress condemns in its entirety what the NIS has proposed, and may adopt any measure we consider right to ensure that the new International passport does not exceed N50, 000. ” “Sometimes one wonders where our privileged Nigerians think from. For over two years now we have been fighting for a new wage of N30, 000 without any meaningful breakthrough. Only yesterday we read that the Council of State, who was never a part of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government pegged the new wage at N27, 000. By implication, if this anti-masses conspiracy is allowed to scale through it then means a civil servant would have to save his salary for three months to be able to pay for a passport. What about feeding, rent, school fees, and other utility bills? This will not work.” Kaigama, stressed that “Come to think of it, we have not even received the new wage, yet government and its agencies are already devising numerous avenues to get the money back. Who knows what Customs, FRSC, FIRS, etc have in the offing? Most Nigerians who cannot get National Identify Card prefer to use the International Passport for transactions. Unfortunately, that opportunity is about to be scuttled because of greed and avarice.” “If the concern of government is to stop Nigerians from traveling, that may not work as they have failed to make the country habitable by creating jobs, infrastructure, good schools, healthcare, etc. Is it not despicable that Ghana is now doing far better in FDIs? Telling us whenever we ask for a wage increase that the price of crude has dropped is unfair. Crude is not our only source of revenue. Nigerians all over the world in their millions renew their International Passports weekly, if not daily. Where is the money? We expect that in this era of integrity there should be accountability.” The public relations officer for NIS, Sunday James, on Monday revealed that new passport, a 64-page booklet with 10-year validity, will cost N70,000, with over 20 features, while the other one with a five-year validity will be going for half the first price, N35,000. Meanwhile, minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said the ministry is working towards domestication of e-passport production within the country. Speaking at a ministerial press briefing by the ministry on Thursday, January 17, Dambazau said the move to domesticate the production of the passport is to ensure that every material need for the passport is produced in Nigeria as it adds to the generation of revenue within the country.