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Nigerian passport climbs nine spots in global ranking

THE Nigerian passport has received a notable improvement in the latest global passport ranking. 

According to the recently released Henley Passport Index for Q2 2023, the Nigerian passport climbed from the 100th position to the 91st position among 199 countries and 227 travel destinations that were evaluated. 

The Henley Passport Index evaluates the strength of passports based on the number of destinations their holders can visit without a prior visa. 

While the latest ranking signifies an enhanced level of global access for Nigerian passport holders, the actual number of countries accessible without visas or with visa-on-arrival remains at 46. 

Travel experts say the improvement in ranking might not necessarily indicate a significant enhancement in the strength of the Nigerian document itself, instead, it could be a result of other countries losing their previous ratings.

As of June 2022, Nigerian passport holders could travel to 25 countries without a visa. However, with the latest development, the number increased to 45 destinations when considering visa-on-arrival or e-visa programs.

Notwithstanding the improvement, the Nigerian passport still holds the lowest ranking among the 15 countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The latest index indicates the ranking of various ECOWAS countries with the Gambia leading the pack at 72nd, followed by Sierra Leone at 74th, Cabo Verde at 75th, Ghana at 76th, Benin at 78th, Burkina Faso, and with Ivory Coast, at 79th. 

Guinea secured the 80th position, while Senegal and Togo shared the 81st spot. Niger ranked 82nd; Mali and  with Guinea Bissau occupies the 83rd position; Liberia stood at 87th, and Nigeria is at the 91st position. 

The CEO of Henley & Partners, Dr. Juerg Steffen,  explained that changes in ranking result from various factors, including reciprocity, economic, socio-political stability, and tourism. 

Former Nigerian Ambassador to Singapore, Ogbole Amedu-Ode, suggested that Nigeria’s reputation in the global community could be improved through a resolute and consistent implementation of efforts to combat drug-related crimes and cybercrime. 

He emphasized the importance of strengthening moral values by rigorously enforcing regulations to enhance Nigeria’s standing on the global stage.

The former envoy stressed the need to revitalise the economy to prevent citizens from engaging in criminal activities abroad. He express optimism that taking these steps will lead to positive outcomes, but anything less would be a wasted effort.

On his part, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Anthony Akuneme said that forging additional mutually beneficial bilateral agreements with other countries could create opportunities for Nigerians.

Supporting Steffen’s viewpoint, Akuneme highlighted the importance of reciprocity in such agreements. He emphasized that if a particular country permits Nigerian citizens to enter without visas, Nigeria would also reciprocate the same privilege to their citizens. 

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