By Lekan Fatodu
There are many sorry accounts out there of how Nigerians are treated at different foreign airports and borders because of the passport they carry.
Even at home, not a few have complained about the conduct of some foreign embassy officials during their interaction with visa-seeking Nigerians.
Perhaps one should ignore the lack of conducive sitting or waiting areas for visa applicants, which usually compels Nigerians to queue under rain and scorching sun for visa procurement.
In all, it’s a tale of disrespect, ignominy and vacuity of value to give just a few meanings to what Nigerians face in most of the aforementioned quarters.
It’s common knowledge that beyond the pleasure of seeing new places through travelling, moving out of one’s location helps to expand one’s world view and positively shapes their thinking.
Therefore, a travel experience that rubs one of dignity and self-esteem, which unfortunely is the lot of many Nigerians, is absolutely antithetical and inimical to the essence of travel.
The Nigerian government, through the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr.
Mohammed Babandede, has just announced that the issuance of Nigerian passport with 10-year validity will commence in December 2018.
Frankly speaking, this step will save a lot of Nigerians time and the stress and agony of dealing with many extortionists who pride themselves as passport officials every five years.
These officials are notorious for making it nearly impossible for one to carry out any business in the passport office without paying exorbitant un-official fees – fees for which no receipt would be issued.
Hence, the latest announcement will be warmly welcomed amongst many Nigerians. Much more than a validity period extension however, the Nigerian government needs to promote such values as may elevate the value of the country’s in the committee of nations.
These values revolve around the way we treat one another, manage our own affairs and the prevailing behaviours amongst our citizens. These are the elements our “friends” in different countries of the world observe and the bases on which they relate with us.
So, essentially, we have the duty to clean up our acts and improve our ways. And having done this, we will definitely find more courage and latitude to challenge anyone that chooses to single us out for ridicule based on prejudice and stereotypes.