The Nigerian Immigration Service has replied to a global report that ranked the Nigerian passport 98th out of 199 countries, behind Malawi, Niger, Chad, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and The Gambia, on Tuesday,15th March 2022 in Abuja.

It stated that, while it was pleased with the ranking, it was more concerned about the Nigerian passport’s compliance with IATA’s global criteria.

The Nigerian International Passport

The passport index, published quarterly, is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest database of travel information, according to details obtained from Henley & Partners, a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm

The Q1 2022 index, which was recently released, assessed the passports of 199 countries with 227 travel destinations and ranked them based on global access and mobility.

Each passport is given a score based on the number of visa-free places it can visit. If passport holders can get a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permission, or an electronic travel authority upon entry, this also applies.

Japan and Singapore were at the top of the list, with passports that allowed them to travel to 192 countries. The United States and the United Kingdom were placed seventh and eighth, respectively, while Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively

Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, while the United States and the United Kingdom were ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

Despite ranking 28th in the world, the Seychellois passport is the most popular in Africa, with visa-free travel to 152 countries. Botswana and Namibia were rated second and third, respectively, with 86 and 78 countries.

Malawi (76th), Niger (90th), Okpu said 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.

According to the ICAO, “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.”

ad (90th) The Gambia (75th), Uganda (76th), Zimbabwe (78th) and Sierra Leone (80th) all ranked above Nigeria and Ethiopia, which tallied at 98th. Despite Nigeria’s position on the list, it rose five places compared to the Q4 2021.

The spokesperson of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Amos Okpu, while reacting to the report, argued that visa-free mobility is largely a reflection of bilateral agreements between countries and within regional blocs.

“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” he said.

Story: Ralia Adama