Everyone loves the good life. This explains why many Nigerians are very eager to japa to get it. There’s just one developing problem — Nigeria’s passport index is really low.

So while you may be on the verge of escaping, it’s worth pondering: is Nigeria really done with you?

What’s the passport index?

You know how there is a rule of law index which measures how countries uphold the rule of law? Or a corruption perception index that measures the perceived level of public corruption? There’s a passport index too. It measures the strength of a passport based on how many countries will issue it a visa on arrival.

The Henley Passport Index for 2023 was recently released and it ranks Nigeria 97. If you’re wondering whether that’s a good or bad thing, let’s just say the last country on the index is Afghanistan and it’s ranked 109. 

Nigeria is dragging with Ethiopia (a country that was at war in 2022) with a score of 97. The 46 you see beside our name represents the number of countries that will grant a visa on arrival. 25 countries will grant Nigerian passport holders visa-free access. That means that Nigerians cannot access over 181 travel destinations without a visa, visa-on-arrival or e-visa arrangement. 

The data for this ranking comes from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). It is also updated using extensive in-house research and open-source online data.

Now compare Nigeria with the world’s most valuable passports. 


How does Nigeria compare with other West African countries?

As far as West Africa is concerned, we’ve carried last. Gambia and our jollof rivals, Ghana, have found new reasons to raise their shoulders at us. Our low index means that even if you want to japa, your visa options are pretty limited. These are the only countries your Nigerian passport can give you visa-free access to outside Africa.

Look at that list again and tell me it doesn’t make you shake your head.

How can Nigeria improve on the passport index?

Most passport indices focus on global mobility which is how well you can travel from one country to another. There are other factors that influence this. One of them is the quality of living. The countries that tend to rank high are the ones with higher qualities of living standards. So if your country is doing fine, more countries will grant your citizens visa-free access.

There’s also the investment ranking. How easy is it for one to invest in a country and get their earnings without any government wahala? How dynamic is the economy and its purchasing power? Nigerians already know the answer to that. If we can improve on these things there’s a good chance the Nigerian passport will gain more acceptance. One way to do this is by ensuring we have the right leaders. And the only way to get the right leaders is by voting them in.

So if you want the disrespect to end, vote right on February 25, 2023.



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