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38 percent increase in passport issuance

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By Timothy Akintola

Socioeconomics and security issues, reason for mass relocation in Nigeria.

Recently, Nigeria has witnessed an increased number of relocations, with the number of passports issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service rising by 38 percent between 2020 and 2021. As a result of the social and economic instabilities in Nigeria, many individuals have and are relocating to other countries in a bid for greener pastures. Statistics show the increased number of issued passports to be from 767,164 in 2020 to 1,059,607 in 2021, ranging from official, standard, diplomatic, emergency travel certificate, refugee passport or the conventional travel document, according to the NIS data.

The breakdown of this data indicated that 761,825 of all the passports issued in 2020 were standard, 2,024 official, 444 diplomatic and the remaining 2,871 being ETCs. The Nigeria Immigration Service, in 2021 recorded an increase in the passports issued, with 1,041,537 standard passports issued; 2,811 official passports; 895 diplomatic passports, 14,214 ETCs and 150 refugee passports. This is approximately 2,081 issued passports daily in 2020 and 2,853 in 2021. According to the United Kingdom Immigration report, reviewing the 2020-2021 period, indicated that Nigeria’s 13,609 healthcare workers were granted working visas, only second to India’s 42,966 practitioners.

Seven of every ten Nigerians to leave the country if given the chance.

According to the 2021 Nigeria Social Cohesion survey reported by the African Polling Institute, seven out of every ten Nigerians proved eager to leave the country, if given the opportunity. A World Bank survey taken in the same 2021 also indicated that at least 56,000 Nigerians were leaving the country yearly than arriving. Further researcher also revealed that as of 2019, over 19,000 skilled and study United Kingdom visas were issued to Nigerians, rising by 210 percent to 59,000 in 2021.

Also, according to obtained data from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 12,595 Nigerians relocated to Canada in 2019, where the NIS reportedly issued 1,198,274 passports, averaging 3282 passports daily. A clear observation of the situation of Nigerians migrating from the country indicated a huge mix of professionals like medical doctors, Technology experts and nurses resigning from their jobs and leveraging the United Kingdom’s skilled work visa application and it’s equivalent in other countries.

Socioeconomics and security dilapidations responsible for mass relocation.

The study visas have also opened another route for more Nigerians to leave the country to other countries like UK, Canada and the United States. Mr. Ariyo Dare-Atoye, the Executive Director of the Adopt a Goal Initiative noted that the increased number of Nigerians relocating was closely together with the harsh socioeconomic realities and Security challenges that have ravaged the country over the past decade. However, reports also indicated that the new passport scheme launched last year might have hugely contributed to the ease of passport issuance to many applicants.

Dare-Atoye further asserted that the numbers would continually rise if the country failed to elect credible political leaders in the impending election. Critical about the state of affairs in Nigeria, he complained about the statistics of Nigerian medical doctors that have relocated over the last two years, noting that numerous Nigerians leveraged the pandemic in sourcing for openings around the world, searching for jobs and opportunities globally. He declared that more Nigerians overtime will also follow suit.

More Nigerians to relocate if 2023 election is not favorable.

He stated that the new and efficient system by the immigration service was not the reason for the increased relocation but the social, economic and security deficiencies that have ravaged the country. Activist and convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju also stated that Nigerians yet to relocate were only marking time before their eventual exits. He noted that Nigerians were fed up of the system and if the results of the impending 2023 elections are not favorable, more Nigerians will find means to relocate. He regarded Nigeria as a concentration camp, with Nigerians gripping any opportunity to leave the country.


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