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Fact Check: Nigeria passport not ranked 5th world’s most powerful passports

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A post shared multiple times on social media platforms and websites claim that the Nigerian passport is now ranked fifth place in Henley Passport Index ranking of the world’s most powerful passports. The claim is false; Nigeria seats in 95th place in Henley Passport Index recent ranking.

The Henley Passport Index periodically measures the world’s most travel-friendly passports which is determined by the total number of countries a passport holder can enter without a visa.

Various digital platforms claim that countries relaxed their visa requirements for Nigerians after Fareed Zakaria, a CNN journalist, in a TV program criticised the US government decision to place a travel ban on Nigeria.

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“For the first time ever, an African passport is among the top five most powerful in the world. Revealing this on its website, the Henley Passport Index released its ranking for the year 2020 and Nigeria had a dramatic rise from being at the 95th spot to going up to the 5th most powerful knocking out both Spain and Denmark and tying with Luxembourg,” the post reads.

The post claims that countries relaxed their visa requirements for Nigerians after Zakaria’s interview.

A search on different search engines shows that the claim has been shared on different blogs including Nairaland, OyoGist, more than 10 Twitter accounts and multiple Facebook accounts.

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Popular Nigerian entertainer and activist Charles Oputa, otherwise known as Charly Boy, also posted same on his Facebook account.

In fact, a Twitter account has shared the false claim twice, first on Monday and Wednesday.

But the claim is untrue. According to the Henley Passport Index released on January 7, 2020, Nigeria was ranked  95th place, along with Djibuoti, out of 199 passports and 227 travel destinations covered.

According to the index, Nigeria passport has 46 destinations visa-free access and 180 destinations visa required.

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Henley & Partner’s list is one of several indexes created by financial firm to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.

The Henley Passport Index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

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