The Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija has assured Nigerians in the U.S. that he will remove all encumbrances on accessing passports at the consulate.
Egopija, who gave the assurance when he received the Executive Members of Egbe Omo Yoruba of Greater New York in his office, said a passport racketeering team had been apprehended.
The Nigerian envoy said that he had been working to ensure smooth services for Nigerians and to remove corruption in the passport processes.
The consul-general advised Nigerians against giving incentives to anybody before accessing any services in the consulate.
“Sometimes, our people have not also done well. They tend to want to give incentives to staff and that is part of the problem but we’re covering that now.
“Only yesterday, when we started this new way of thinking (a new approach to consular issues), we apprehended a racketeering team; this team is based in Baltimore (Maryland).
“Baltimore is not within our jurisdiction; they will do processing over there and they linked up with someone I term a self-appointed Liaison who had his wings in the consulate.
“We have apprehended them and the staff that was compromised too and we have assured Nigerians that you don’t need to know anyone, they can obtain services without additional incentive,” he said.
The consul-general told his guests that the mission had been coping with an avalanche of Nigerians coming from other parts of the U.S, beyond the consulate’s jurisdiction for passport services.
According to report, the Nigerian consulate in New York renders consular services to 20 states in the U.S.
The Consulate office is located at 828 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Since its establishment, sixteen (16) Consul Generals have served in the Mission.
They are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Minnesota.
Similarly, the consulate in Atlanta renders consular services to 20 states in the U.S. while the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC caters to 10 states and the Washington, DC.
According to him, the mission in New York now renders consular services to Nigerians from Atlanta and Washington, DC jurisdictions.
There are about 348,000 Nigerian immigrants living in the U.S. as of 2017, making Nigeria the top birthplace among African immigrants in the country.
Also speaking, Mr. Alani Bello, Consul, Consular and Welfare, urged Nigerians in the U.S. to check the website of the consulate for vital information about its activities and services.
“We encourage our people to come directly to the consulate, not to go to a third party; if you approach the third party for assistance, they charge you more.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to improve on our service delivery,’’ he said
Earlier, President of Egbe Omo Yoruba of Greater New York, Mr. Adeyemi Oloruntoba, had talked about the challenges Nigerians were facing to get new passports and renew their traveling documents.
“We are Nigerians first as far as this place is concerned, the challenges that we are facing are not restricted to us being Yoruba but us as Nigerians.
“Our challenges are common and they are the same as Nigerians. Not too long, we had a virtual meeting with Nigeria house that was ably represented by Mr. Bello.
“We were so happy that throughout that meeting, he was able to douse the concerns and agitations of some of the members that were on the platform.
“The key thing that came up in the meeting was about passport; the issuance and renewal of passport,’’ he said.
Oloruntoba appealed to the consulate to improve on its services to help Nigerians benefit from Biden’s immigration policy.
“The administration is not ready to deport any immigrants but some of our people don’t have valid passports to benefit from this policy,’’ the official said.
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