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Nigerian passports to gain more respect at foreign borders – FG

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The Federal Government announced that Nigerian passports will now be more respected at foreign borders after being integrated into the International Civil Aviation Organization Public Key Directory and Public Key Infrastructure.

The Ministry of Interior shared this news on the X platform on Tuesday while responding to a tweet by travel content creator, Tayo Aina.

On Monday, Aina posted a promotional video for a St. Kitts passport he acquired for $150,000, suggesting it was better for global travel compared to the Nigerian passport.

This video received backlash from netizens, who criticized him for speaking poorly about the Nigerian passport to promote another country’s passport.

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A few hours later, Aina apologized, saying, “I’m sorry, guys. I lied. With this passport, you’re not just a traveller; you’re a global citizen. It liberates you with visa-free access to over 149 countries, opening up a world of opportunities for you. Immigration officers around the globe respect it, and you will get VIP treatment once you present it at any airport worldwide. It’s priceless.”

The Ministry of Interior then quoted his tweet, stating, “Nigerians will now enjoy a smoother and more secure travel experience as the Nigerian passport has been integrated into the International Civil Aviation Organization Public Key Directory and Public Key Infrastructure.”

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The ministry explained that the ICAO PKD and PKI systems ensure that the data embedded in electronic passports, such as biometric information, can be verified against trusted sources. “This means that Nigerian passports can now be authenticated more efficiently at international borders, reducing delays and enhancing security,” the ministry added.

The ministry also highlighted a previous challenge, noting, “Previously, one of the challenges Nigerians faced at international borders was that our passports were ‘unreadable,’ making it difficult for the information contained to be verified by the International Civil Aviation Organization.”

The ICAO PKD is a database that holds national cryptographic keys for authenticating e-passport information, ensuring secure identity verification at borders.

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As of March 2024, there are 95 participants in the ICAO PKD, including 29 OSCE participating States and 5 OSCE Partners for Co-operation.

Nigeria, which was re-elected to the ICAO-PKD Board for the fourth time in 2022, is one of these participants.

The benefits of being a PKD member include faster and more efficient validation of ePassports, easier border crossings for citizens, and reduced possibility of passport falsification.

The Ministry of Interior emphasized that this integration will enhance the respect and treatment of Nigerian citizens at foreign border checkpoints.

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