New York Consulate achieves 80% passports’ issuance in Chicago
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York says it has achieved 80 per cent completion in passports issuance for its nationals in the intervention exercise conducted in Chicago, in August, 2021.
The Consul-General, Amb. Lot Egopija disclosed this at the virtual fourth Town Hall meeting for Nigerian nationals within the New York jurisdiction.
“I am happy to inform you that we have achieved 80 per cent in Chicago passports issuance, the remaining 20 per cent will soon be completed as we are expecting the last tranche from Nigeria soon,’’ he said.
According to him, the Consulate would not embark on any intervention until it achieved 100 per cent in the 2021 Chicago intervention and in the 2018/2019 intervention exercises.
Egopija said that the Consulate had devised means of addressing the outstanding passports from the interventions held between 2018 and 2019 in Chicago, Minnesota and Indianapolis.
He said the Consulate had devised three methods to deal with the issue, noting that the first method was to give priority to those nationals attended to in the exercise, if they could come to the Consulate physically.
“If you are able to find your way to the Consulate, we would give you priority attention and recapture you and make sure that your passport is produced, provided there was no complication in the information presented.
“We have asked those in the states to wait so that when we come, we will attend to them, and the third method would be to continue to work with Nigeria Immigration Service to get the passports ready.’’
The Nigerian envoy said the Consulate had received requests for passports intervention from the Nigerian community in Philadelphia, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
He gave assurance that the Consulate would continue to do its best to serve Nigerians within its jurisdiction, appealing for the cooperation of all nationals in providing the right information that would ensure timely issuance of their passports.
“We have noticed that we cannot mail some of these passports to the destinations, because we found out that the applicants didn’t write the address properly and as such, the passports had been returned to the Consulate.
“Please, if any application exceeds 12 weeks, call our attention to it, so that we would find out how to reach you. We are appealing to you to assist us to serve you better.
“We also found out that people return envelopes with one or two dollars instead of 10 dollars worth of postage. If you do that, you may not receive your passport and because of this challenge, we have been having back and forth movement.
“We want to encourage our nationals to check our website, we will begin to publish affected names of returned mails,’’ the envoy said.
Egopija said that the Consulate had started processing passport applications from December 2021, noting that by March the office would start processing applications from January.
He, however, pledged that this would not breach the average 12 weeks turnaround time for passport production with the cooperation of nationals.
The Consul-General said that the past three months had been challenging for the Consulate, dealing with an avalanche of applications for passport renewal because of Nigerians who intended to travel during the Yuletide.
“We were able to do that, but we had difficulty in realising the desire of our nationals who would have travelled to Nigeria, due to shortage of passport booklets.
“We were able to devise some means to meet their demand and we did all we could do but we could not achieve the 100 per cent mark.
“The issue of passports shortage has improved since the beginning of this year and as such, we are almost up to date with the 12 weeks period giving to those coming for passport renewal,’’ he said.
The New York correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-hour virtual meeting focused mainly on interactions on passport issuance, timely collection of passports, renewal of passports, among others.
No fewer than 150 participants joined the first Town Hall meeting in 2022. The fifth edition of the meeting is slated to hold in May, 2022.