…By for TDPel Media.
The Nigerian passport has seen a notable improvement in its global standing, climbing nine places in the latest passport ranking index.
According to the recently released Henley Passport Index for Q2 2023, the Nigerian passport has now secured the 91st position out of 199 countries and 227 travel destinations studied.
This marks a significant jump from its previous position at 100.
Increased Global Access for Nigerian Passport Holders
Despite the positive progress, the number of countries accessible to Nigerian passport holders without visas or with visa-on-arrival remains at 46.
As of June 2022, travelers with Nigerian passports were only able to visit 25 countries without a visa.
However, this number rises to 45 when considering destinations with visa-on-arrival or e-visa programs.
Factors Contributing to the Ranking Improvement
The improved ranking may not solely be attributed to the strength of the Nigerian passport itself.
Rather, it could be a result of other nations losing their previous positions in the ranking.
Nigerian Passport’s Standing in ECOWAS
Compared to other countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nigerian passport is currently ranked as the least powerful.
The Gambia leads the ECOWAS countries at the 72nd position, while Nigeria holds the 91st position.
Determining Factors for Passport Rankings
The CEO of Henley & Partners, Dr. Juerg Steffen, highlighted that several factors play a role in determining a passport’s fall or improvement in rankings.
These factors include reciprocity, economic and sociopolitical stability, and tourism.
Opportunities for Improved Bilateral Agreements
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Anthony Akuneme, emphasized that forging more beneficial bilateral agreements with other countries could provide opportunities for Nigerian passport holders to travel more freely.
Addressing Challenges for Better Global Standing
To improve the standing of the Nigerian passport globally, it is crucial to address issues such as drug-related crime perpetrated by Nigerians abroad and economic challenges.
Former Nigerian Ambassador to Singapore, Ogbole Amedu-Odeb, stressed the need to strengthen moral values and rigorously implement regulations that enhance Nigeria’s reputation on the international stage.
Additionally, a robust economy can deter citizens from engaging in criminal activities abroad, contributing to a more favorable global perception.
In summary, the Nigerian passport has achieved a higher ranking in the global index, offering its holders increased access to more countries.
However, efforts to improve global standing should continue by addressing various factors, including reciprocity, economic stability, and sociopolitical issues.
Such improvements, along with beneficial bilateral agreements, can enhance the mobility and reputation of Nigerian passport holders worldwide.
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