Passport or international passport of the organ donor?

Akeem Lasisi

Since about a week ago, a lot of people have been discussing the case involving former Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, who are being tried in London for alleged organ harvesting. It is an intriguing and, indeed, touching story because the genesis is that a daughter of theirs is ailing and requires kidney transplant. So, although many cannot resist the temptation to banter about the political and social issues that may surround the matter, we believe it is not the type that one should joke about.

What’s our interest in it, then? It borders on how many people have been talking about the ‘international passport’ of the proposed donor. In the course of trying to reveal the identity of the boy/man the Ekweremadus were said to have arranged kidney donation with, his travelling document – or the alleged one – surfaced online. Not a few folks have been calling it ‘international passport’. I am not surprised this is happening because the term has always been a popular one in Nigeria: international passport. However, the fact is that, as we noted in the early days of the Punch English Class, there is a grammatical problem with the phrase as it is a redundant expression. Redundancy is the unnecessary use of more than one word or phrase meaning the same thing.

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Without the redundant words, the phrase or original word will stand and make a complete sense. Globally, the name of the very important document that identifies one as being a citizen of a particular country is called passport. That is why when you get to the airport, whether a London’ s Heathrow or Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, what the immigration and other officials want to see is, ‘Your passport?’ Even at our own Murtala Muhammed International Airport or Nnamdi Azikiwe, what you will normally hear is ‘passport’; only few officials do say ‘international passport’.

In effect, the document being circulated online, said to be that of the guy meant to donate the organ, is his passport – just his passport as ‘international’ is redundant in the phrase, ‘international passport’. You may ask:  what do we then call the small photograph of the face, as we have on the passport itself? It is a passport photo.

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Meanwhile, this definition and examples by Cambridge Dictionary explain the concept more:

Passport: an official document containing personal information and usually a photography that allows a person to travel to foreign countries and to prove who they are.

Examples:

Many refuges have arrived at the border without passports.

He was a German travelling on a Swiss passport.

To better understand the burden of the redundancy in ‘international passport’, we need to cite more examples of the linguistic anomaly. Remember the re-words – reverse, return, revert resume and reclaim? Using ‘back’ with each of them in many contexts is redundant:

The policeman asked me to reverse back. (Wrong)

When will he return back from London? (Wrong)

The MD wants her to revert back on the matter. (Wrong)

The students will resume back as soon as ASUU calls off the strike. (Wrong)

They are struggling to reclaim back the land. (Wrong)

What about the needless ‘for’ with demand, request, advocate and order? I saw this in some statements in the past week. Needless!

They are demanding for the more money. (Wrong)

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She has ordered for rice and beans.  (Wrong)

Here are more examples of redundancy:

Plan ahead: Is it possible to plan backwards?

Unintended mistake: Do we still call it a mistake when it is intended?

Repeat again: Why not just ask him to repeat?

Suddenly exploded: You mean there is gradual explosion?

New innovation: Is there an old innovation?

End result: ‘The result is that …’ is enough!

Final outcome: There is no semi-final outcome!

Added bonus: Bonus itself is an addition.

Advance notice: A notice is a notice, ever given in advance. So, using ‘advance’ with it is an overkill.

International passport: You mean there is a national passport? Then call that the national ID card!

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