The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has assured travellers of fair treatment under the new visa regime.
NIS spokesperson, Sunday James, who disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja, also promised to respect the fundamental rights of every traveller to the country.
Mr James said that the service will continue to practise citizens’ diplomacy with the new visa regime.
“As a committed service, we will continue to practise citizens’ diplomacy both towards Nigerians and foreigners regardless of passport but on merit and integrity.
“The quality of a national passport is not only in good finishing and look, but what determines its acceptance to the global communities is more on the integrity of the citizens which rubs on the integrity of the passport they are holding.
“Acceptance evaluation of Nigerian passport as a travel document and citizens integrity determines how many countries will allow a Nigerian citizen entry into their country under which condition and for how long,’’ he said.
Mr James said that the NIS has uploaded 150,000 Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) to the database of the International Police Global System (IPSG) as effort to checkmate visa crimes.
In the light of the above, Mr James said that Nigeria has been rated the 1st country in Africa and 54th in the world to automate its uploading system.
“To have uploaded such quantity is an indication that the NIS is not resting on its oars and the information 24/7 centre of the service is working around the clock accessing diffusions from the INTERPOL General Assembly.
“This is to analyse, interrogate and interpret for domestic consumption and international actions to be taken.
“The result of such analysis, interrogation and interpretation is the upload of the 150,000 Stolen and Lost Travel Documents which by implication puts Nigeria on ascension on global podium of integrity, secured economy and safe for investment.
“This is also an indication that the NIS system is working to detect, identify and classify the various passports that were invalidated, stolen, lost, fake and tampered with,’’ he said.
Mr James said that the fight against identity theft was part of the reason for the change from the colonial passport, hand written, Machine Readable Passport (MRP) to the e-passport.
He said that the enhanced e-passport has over 25 security features, among other factors.
According to him, this is to guarantee the safety of the holder and document in line with
President Muhammadu Buhari on Feb. 4, officially presented the National Visa Policy 2020 (NVP) to the public at the State House, Villa.
The new visa regime is aimed at creating new visa categories for ease of doing business.
The NVP 2020 expands the classes of visa from six to 79, to accommodate additional travel requirements for expatriates intending to travel to Nigeria.
The NVP 2020 classifies travelers to Nigeria into two broad categories: Visa Free / Exemption and Visa Mandatory.
The new classes are categorised into Short Visit Visas (28 classes) which allow foreigners to visit Nigeria for a period of up to three months, for the purpose of tourism and short business meetings, amongst others.
Other are Temporary Residence Visas (36 classes) which allow individuals to reside in Nigeria for the purposes of employment, accompanying employed migrants and schooling, amongst others.
Another is the Permanent residence Visas (15 classes) which confer permanent residence status on spouses of Nigerian citizens, Nigerians by birth who have renounced their Nigerian citizenship, and their spouses, investors who import an annual minimum threshold of capital, highly skilled individuals and some classes of retirees.