The Nigerian passport has fallen by 38 places in a global passport ranking in the last 17 years.
This is according to the Henley Passport Index reports between 2006 and 2022 collated by The PUNCH
The Henley Passport Index ranks passports according to the number of countries their holders can access visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival programme.
Although the Nigerian passport gained 11 more destinations, it fell from 62nd in 2006 to 100th in 2022.
This shows a steady decline in strength amongst the 199 countries and 227 travel destinations studied.
While the green passport now grants visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 46 countries, up from the previous total of 35 in 2006, Nigerians cannot access over 181 travel destinations without a visa, visa-on-arrival or e-visa arrangement.
As of September 2022, travelers with Nigerian passports can only traverse 25 countries visa-free.
However, that number rises to at least 46 destinations when visa-on-arrival or e-visa programmes are added to the mix.
Countries offering visa-free, visa-on-arrival and e-visa access to Nigerians as of the time of this report include: Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique , Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Others include: Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Timor-Leste, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Fiji, Micronesia, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
According to the Henley Passport Index which is based on data from the International Air Transport Association, a fall or improvement in ranking is the result of several factors.
They include the country’s efforts to strengthen its diplomatic relations with other nations and its efforts to modernise its visa processes and improve security measures at its borders.
However, experts reasoned that the strength of the green document is only reflecting the internal challenges bedeviling Nigeria.
In an earlier interview with our correspondent, Research Director, Centre for China Studies, Abuja, Charles Onunaiju, argued that the measly visa-free access Nigerians enjoy globally reflects the internal woes the country is experiencing under the present government.
He said, “We have a challenge. Since Nigeria is becoming inhospitable, especially for young people with no opportunities, there is desperation to go abroad.
“Almost all embassies are now enforcing regulations on Nigerians they don’t impose on other nationals. That is very clear. People feel that almost every Nigerian wants to leave here. That’s partly true because the nation has mishandled the potential in it. Our leaders have not harnessed the vast human resources available to us.
“If we want to earn respect from outside, we must begin from home. If we want the world to take us seriously, we must get your acts together.”
But Nigeria’s passport issuing agency, the Nigeria Immigration Service, reasoned otherwise.
It said visa-free mobility is largely a reflection of bilateral agreements between countries and within regional blocs.
The spokesperson of the NIS, Amos Okpu, who earlier discussed with our correspondent on the issue said, “This ranking is based on passport admissibility. And that is largely a function of mutual understanding, reciprocity among countries which does not necessarily reflect the true strength of a passport. A good example is the European Union and the ECOWAS.
“While we appreciate the work done by Henley & Partners, we are more concerned with deepening our passport technology to meet up with the standards of the ICAO; ensuring that our passport complies with ICAO guidelines.”
Okpu argued that Nigeria has been a public Key Directory of the ICAO since April 2009 and, therefore, sits in a respectable position in the comity of nations.
The Public Key Directory is a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate electronic Machine-Readable Travel Documents such as e-Passports, electronic ID cards and Visible Digital Seals.
Asserting the NIS’ position, Okpu said, “What we put more emphasis on here is our standing in the ICAO. When ICAO alerts us of any lapses with our passports, we get to work. Nigeria has been part of the Public Key Directory since 2009 and it took us complying with several passport security specifications to be reflected on that directory.
Makinde Deploys Free Buses Over Fuel, Naira Crises
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday night, announced the deployment of free ‘Omituntun’ transport buses to cushion the effect of the fuel scarcity and naira crises in the country on residents of the state.
Makinde announced this in a state-wide broadcast aired on the state-owned radio service, the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State.
The governor, who frowned upon the violent protests that erupted in the state earlier on Friday, said his government was ready to do whatever was needed to ease the pain of the people.
He, however, urged residents of the state to express their grievances peacefully, adding that his government would not condone the breakdown of law and order.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa, noted that Makinde also put security agencies in the state on high alert to avert any breakdown of law and order, according to a report by The Eagle Online.
According to the governor, the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses will be deployed to more routes within the state to convey resident free-of-charge in order to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
The governor also said he was working with the chairmen of local governments in the state to provide immediate palliatives for the vulnerable people in order to alleviate the hardships that the crises had brought upon them.
In the broadcast, Makinde said, “My Dear Good People of Oyo State.
“I am addressing you today because of the prevailing conditions in our state and country that have led to protests and riots, especially in Ibadan.
“First, let me say that I understand the need for these protests. When citizens get pushed to the wall, there is only so much that they can take.
“The continuous fuel scarcity and the scarcity of the naira have led to slow economic activities. I must repeat, I understand, and I feel your pain.
“I have always maintained that peaceful protests are fine. When things are not going how we want them to go, we have a right and even a responsibility to protest.
“Let me also state that while we are protesting, we must we must remember how easily a peaceful protest can turn violent and lead to the loss of lives and property. The violence that erupted in parts of Ibadan today (Friday) is condemnable and will not be tolerated.
“In response to this, I have suspended all campaign activities forthwith. I have also met with the heads of security agencies in Oyo State to restore calm and maintain the peace in our dear state.
“Violence cannot and will not solve our problems, it only creates new ones. We have another opportunity in a few weeks to move this country in a new direction. Use your PVC, not violence.
“We must not allow elements within us who have other motives to take advantage of peaceful protests to perpetrate evil or push their agendas.
“I urge all law-abiding citizens and residents of the state to go about their lawful activities. All our security agencies are on high alert and so, peaceful residents of the state have no cause to fear.
“As a palliative measure, I have directed that the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses should be deployed to more routes within the state for free.
“We are also working with Local Government Chairmen to see what immediate palliatives we can make available to the most vulnerable amongst us to alleviate the hardships that the twin scarcity of fuel and the naira have brought upon our people.
“Once again, we have another opportunity to put an end to oppressive systems and that is through the ballot. For now, I urge everyone to remain calm as we are doing our best to mitigate the hardships.”
New Naira: Seven Notable Quotes From El-Rufai
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has been firing from all cylinders, claiming some unnamed persons in Aso Villa were working against the All Progressives Congress’ victory during the presidential election.
The PUNCH reports that the governor on Thursday claimed that the said people were inciting voters against the APC.
Below are seven of his salvos:
1. Saboteurs will be unmasked, defeated
“Unmasking them is not as joyful as defeating them. They will be unmasked in time. But we have defeated them when they wanted their own people in the national working committee of the party.
“We have defeated them when they wanted their own anointed person to be the presidential candidate without due regard, due process or respect for those of us that are governors, that have slaved to put this party together, campaigned for it and delivered the election twice. We didn’t matter.’’
2. Saboteurs are political amateurs/lighter weights
“Meanwhile, none of them has contested an election as a councillor, and if they did, they won’t win. I have been elected twice with over a million votes in Kaduna State. I can claim to speak for the people.
‘’None of these people can. We will come to the unmasking stage, this is not the stage. The stage now is to draw the attention of Nigerians that they are elements that are doing this and they don’t mean well for our party, they want to incite voters against our party, so that we lose the elections.’’
3. Saboteurs, cabal misled Buhari
“Once Nigerians know that they will know where some of these funny decisions are coming from and when the election is done and settled by the grace of God in about three weeks, and I’m confident, we are not sleeping.
“We are going to work hard until (February) 27th when all the election results are out and by the grace of God, Asiwaju (Tinubu) is elected and other candidates of the APC; then we will unmask them.
4. Dummies to President
“This has been an ongoing issue and we just feel that some of these things that are being thought of and clothed with good intentions, and dummies being sold to the President so that the electorate will be incited; the people of Nigeria will be inflicted needless pain at the point in addition to all the other challenges that they are facing just so that they will revolt and say, look, we will vote for the other party. It is clear.’’
5. Case for old notes
He stated, “I have a map of Nigeria with blind spots where there is no network; PoS won’t work there. It is not everywhere that you have bank branches. It is not everywhere you have PoS working. So, let’s sit and look at this thing and find out the reasonable time it takes to do this.
“Even the Central Bank Act that gives the President the power to issue to the Central Bank directives with regard to currency redesign says that reasonable time must be given before the currency ceases to be legal tender.’’
6. CBN deadline unreasonable
“The question is: Is a few weeks a reasonable time in a country of one million square kilometres and over 200m people? How many bank branches are in Nigeria? How many ATMs?
“In Borno State, there are only two local governments out of 27 with a bank branch. In Yobe, only two local governments out of 17 have a bank branch.
“Even a cosmopolitan state relatively in the north like Kaduna has two local governments that have no bank branches and 10 with only one bank branch. So, everyone in that local government must come to that one bank branch? And this PoS that you are seeing in every street of Lagos; do you think you have PoS in every street of Kubau, Ikara and Makarfi which are local government headquarters in my state?’’
7. Atiku exploiting Nigerians’ hardship
“But this week, because of a mere extension of 10 days, he’s (Atiku) turning round to say don’t extend; it means there is something. He’s clearly benefiting from this pain Nigerians are going through every day till today.
“I have reports that people in Kaduna cannot buy food and they cannot sell because there are no currency notes around. But the presidential candidate of the PDP is saying don’t extend because he’s gaining from it. The incitement of people against the APC is in his view to his advantage and this incitement is stronger in northern Nigeria where Atiku is to benefit from,’’ he submitted.
Broadcast Code: NBC Slams Arise TV, TVC N2m
Arise Global Media Limited and Continental Broadcasting Services Limited will pay N2m fines each for breaching Nigeria’s broadcasting codes, the National Broadcasting Commission revealed on Friday.
In separate letters signed by its Director-General, Balarabe llelah, the media watchdog said the parent companies operating Arise News and Television Continental, respectively, have allowed politically-inciting language on their platforms.
The NBC also said TVC News does not offer equal coverage to other political parties asides from the All Progressives Congress.
The sanctions come barely 21 days to the presidential and governorship elections which will hold on February 25, 2023.
In a letter to Continental Broadcasting Services Limited, Ilelah said the NBC monitored the consistent breach of the Nigeria broadcasting code over a period, adding that “the worrisome trend has become a house style on your channel that enjoys national coverage.”
It read, “On January 6, 2023 at 12:29pm, the Joint Media Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, made the following comments while briefing the media.
“Obasanjo and Atiku run a criminal enterprise, an empire of fraud in Abuja. At the same time that Ahmed Bola Asiwaju was toiling hard, beautifully and meticulously to rebuild Lagos, 2 criminals were stealing money in Abuja at the time…they both stole from the SPV account at that time.
“On January 24 2023, at 03:39pm, during the APC Presidential Rally in Abia State, the APC Presidential Candidate Bola Tinubu after telling the public to vote APC under the symbol of broom, he went on to make the following comment ‘…You know what you do with the rest of them? They are like lizards, cockroaches and mosquitoes. Just take the broom, wipe them off.”
It also accused the station of unequal coverage of the activities of the main opposition.
Illelah wrote, “On October 10, 2022, your station started its news with 17 minutes of APC news and one minute of PDP story with a video clip that did not play.
“Consequently, pursuant to the aforementioned Sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, TVC News is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira Only).
“Note that the penalty shall be paid within two weeks of the receipt of this Letter or sanction shall be graduated,” the NBC said.
In a letter to Arise Global Media Limited, the Commission said, “For avoidance of doubt, some of such unprofessional broadcasts are listed below for your perusal.
READ ALSO: NBC Fines Arise TV Over Report On Tinubu
“On January 24, 2023, between 1.00pm – 2.27pm, Arise TV aired the Presidential campaign rally of PDP which held in Delta State, replete with unfair remarks and mockery of the APC presidential candidate by Dino Melaye.
“Mr. Melaye sang a song ‘…hand dey shake, leg dey shake, baba wey no well, e dey shout emilokan’ he further went on to fall down demonstrating the frailty of the APC presidential candidate.”
It argued that Arise TV did not only air the programme but repeated the clip of Dino Melaye in a mockery of the APC Presidential candidate in another programme anchored by Ojy Okpe What’s Trending.
“On January 26 2023, at 9.40am, during the programme Morning Show, a guest, Na’jaatu Muhammed described the Presidential Candidate of APC, Bola Tinubu as mentally deranged without caution from the anchor. The guest had a field day with vituperations against the presidential candidate of the APC.
“On January 31 2023, at 3:30pm, during the broadcast of the PDP presidential rally in Sokoto State, Dino Melaye referred to the Vice-Presidential candidate of APC, Kashim Shettima as GCOB, meaning Grand Commander of Bandits.
“Consequently, pursuant to the aforementioned Sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Arise TV is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira Only),” the letter read.
The penalty shall be paid within two weeks of the receipt of the letter or sanction shall be graduated, the NBC warned.
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