A new Henley Global Passport Index study has ranked the Nigerian passport the least potent of the 15 nations that comprise the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The rating, which is based on citizens’ freedom of movement across borders, places Nigeria 98th, trailing 14 other nations in the community.
It reveals that the Nigerian passport provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to only 46 locations globally, far fewer than the 68 countries that Gambians have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to.
According to the first quarter report, Gambia leads ECOWAS with 68 visa-free locations, followed by Cabo Verde (65), Ghana and Sierra Leone (64), Benin (60), Burkina Faso (57), Senegal and Ivory Coast (56), Guinea (55), Togo (54), Niger and Mali (53), Guinea Bissau (52), Liberia (49), and Nigeria (46).
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While the ECOWAS protocol grants citizens of member states freedom of movement within the bloc, outside of the bloc, access is largely dependent on the countries’ efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with other nations, as well as their efforts to modernise visa processes and improve border security measures.
According to the study, Nigeria’s passport rating has dropped from 62nd in 2006 to 98th in Q1 2023, a 36-place drop in the last 18 years.
Despite the fact that the green passport now gives visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to 46 countries, up from 35 in 2006, Nigerians cannot travel to over 181 destinations without a visa, visa-on-arrival, or e-visa arrangement.