Even though Nigerians are proud of the new electronic passports being issued by the Nigerian Immigration Services, the organisation is burdened by the high cost of producing them as a result of the importation of all the needed materials.
Speaking at the inauguration of a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in Abuja on Tuesday, the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, said the chips, ink, paper and other materials used in the production of the passports were all being imported.
She also challenged the Nigerian science and technology community to come up with sensors to police the nation’s borders
Uzoma said because of the importation of all the materials used in the production of the passports, all the funds being realised from the issuance were going into the production process.
She said, “We have seen the use of land sensors in the policing of porous borders in other countries. We will like our scientists to help in the production of such sensors.
“We are not making anything from the production of passports. The chips, the paper and the ink that go into the production are all imported. Our scientists can help us in the production of any of such material. We cannot remain a consumer nation perpetually.”
Uzoma urged the Ministry of Science and Technology to seize the momentum provided by the inauguration of a new STI policy to help the service to tackle the challenges before it.
Speaking at the event, Country Representative, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Dr. Joseph Ngu, said science and technology had universally been recognised as drivers of development.
According to him, no country encapsulates the challenges and opportunities that abound in Africa in the past four years better than Nigeria.
He urged Nigeria to look beyond its traditional allies in science and technology and seek new partners among the South-South Alliance, Japan, India and China.
Ngu said the management of the nation’s huge young population could spell boom or gloom for the country.
He said with such a young population, the nation needed to pay more attention to educational facilities as well as the creation of jobs.
The Permanent Secretary in the Science and Technology ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, said the new policy was a product of inclusive, participatory and consultative approach, and paid greater attention to innovation, which had become a tool for sustainable development across the globe.