The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, for the domestication of production of Nigeria’s international passports.
The agreement was signed between IRIS SMART TECHNOLOGY LTD, an indigenous company, and Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc at the Ministry of Interior in Abuja.
The domestication entails that production of e-passport will be done in Nigeria alone and will no longer be done by foreigners.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulraham Dambazau (retd), said he was glad to witness the signing of the MoU.
The minister said that the process that led to the signing of the MoU began two years ago, explaining that before the agreement, passport booklets were produced outside the country.
He enumerated the advantages of Nigeria producing the e-passport to include “protection of our database.”
He said that producing the document locally would provide employment for Nigerians to acquire skills in passport production as well as the technological know-how in the production of high-quality passport booklets.
“We must ensure that we provide Nigerians with the best quality passport booklet because that is what Nigerians deserve,” he said.
On his part, Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr Mohammed Babandede, thanked the minister for ensuring that domestication of production of the passport was achieved.
He said that Nigerian Immigration Service was the greatest beneficiary of the development and assured that the passport would be of high quality.
Babandede stated that the first copy that would be produced would be tested to ensure that it was of the desired quality.
Mr Abbas Masanawa, Managing Director, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, also commended the interior ministry for the initiative and efforts at seeing it through.
He said that the MoU was an epoch event in Nigeria, as “what is done outside the country can be done in Nigeria’’.
Masanawa assured that they would not disappoint Nigerians, adding that they would produce the passport that would compete with other passports in the world.