‘We do not lack passport booklets,’ envoy assures Nigerians in New York

Nigerian passport booklets being displayed

Nigerians resident in New York have been assured of their consular needs being met, as the Consul General also informed them of the availability of passport booklets.

The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija, who gave the assured the nationals within the New York jurisdiction during a meeting informed that the embassy would meet their consular needs, saying “we do not lack passport booklets.’’

Egopija spoke at the virtual 7th Town Hall Meeting with the Nigerian Community within New York Jurisdiction.

During the meeting, Nigerians resident in New York expressed concerns on passport issuance and how to correct irregularities in passport data arising from regular process or intervention exercises.

The envoy, answering question on possibility of applicants getting their passports by December to travel home for Christmas, said shortage of passport booklets is no longer a problem.

According to him, the applicants that have done their biometrics will get their passports as soon as possible.

“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.’’

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Answering question on the new visa policy by the Federal government that Nigerians with dual citizenship, would no longer require visas to visit Nigeria if they decided to travel home with their foreign passports, Egopija said the Consulate was still waiting for further directive from the Federal Government on the policy.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola on November 11, 2022, tweeted that the Federal Government has started implementing the new visa policy.

“We are still waiting for government to let us know what we are 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,’’ he said.

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

He 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.

“I am telling you; you don’t need to know anybody before you will be attended to once you apply early.’’

The meeting also 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 passports and NIN and the process of correcting discrepancies where they occur.