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Envoy assures Nigerians in New York of sufficient, timely processing of passport booklets

*Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, United States, assures the country’s nationals that all the outstanding passport applications are being addressed, as the Consulate is ready to ensure Nigerians receive their passports in time before travelling home

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, United States (US), has assured the country’s nationals within the New York jurisdiction of meeting their consular needs.

Egopija, who gave the assurance at the virtual 7th Town Hall Meeting with the Nigerian Community within New York Jurisdiction said, “we do not lack passport booklets.’’

Most questions raised at the meeting were on passports collection, and how to correct irregularities in passports data arising from regular process or intervention exercises, agency report said.

As regards the possibility of applicants’ getting their passports by December 2022 to travel home (Nigeria) for Christmas, the Nigerian envoy, declared that shortage of passport booklets is no longer a problem.

The applicants that have done their biometrics will get their passports as soon as possible, he assured the audience.

Egopija further stated: “All the outstanding passport applications are being addressed but we just asked for your patience and understanding.

“We will do everything that is within our means to facilitate and make sure that people receive their passports in time before they start travelling.’’

On Nigeria’s new visa policy

In respect of the Federal Government’s policy, that Nigerians with dual citizenship will no longer require visas to visit Nigeria, if they decide to travel home with their foreign passports, he stated that the Consulate is still awaiting further directive from the Federal Government in this regard.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Honourable Minister for Interior, reportedly tweeted that the Federal Government had started implementing the new visa policy recently.

The envoy further said: “We’re still waiting for government to let us know what we’re expected to do so that we can inform our nationals but until that policy document is out, we would tell you to hang on.

“We would tell you to hang on because it will also involve government informing the airlines because without that, no airline will pick you.

“You should be patient; in the coming days, we will probably get clarity on that important pronouncement.”

Mr. Francis James, a Nigerian community leader, who anchored the meeting, urged Nigerians to plan their passports need and apply at least six months to the expiration of their passports.

James assured that the Consulate had improved his services, citing the experience of his wife who went through the process without asking for assistance from any staff.

He also assured fellow Nigerians: “I am telling you; you don’t need to know anybody before you will be attended to once you apply early.’’

The town-hall meeting as well discussed the challenges faced by Nigerians in acquiring the National Identification Number (NIN), which is mandatory requirement for processing the new Enhanced E-Passport.

The challenges include ignorance on the need to match names on passport and NIN and the process of correcting discrepancies where they occur, report noted.

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