Nigerian group, 20 diaspora partners seek passport printers in New York, Atlanta
Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians and 20 partners in New York have appealed to the Federal Government to install passport printers at the consulates in New York and Atlanta.
Nigeria has three missions in the United States, namely: the Consulates-General of Nigeria in New York and Atlanta, and the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington DC.
The embassy in Washington DC is the only passport production centre in the U.S., while the consulates take biometrics and forward same to the embassy in Washington DC for passport production.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, on behalf of the partner organisations, Olutomi Aregbesola, President of OAN, expressed concern over the lack of printers at the two consulates.
Ms Aregbesola said, “We are very impressed by the significant accomplishment you have made within a short period of time since you took the helm at the Nigerian Interior Ministry. However, we are very perturbed by the fact that the three Nigerian missions in the United States still rely on only one centre for passport production. It is even more worrisome that the two printing machines in the U.S. are still located at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C. This means that staff at the New York and Atlanta missions must travel to Washington D.C. to print passports.’’
Ms Aregbesola added that the New York Consulate alone has jurisdiction over the highest number of states and accepts the largest number of applicants from across the United States.
According to her, the consulate in New York carries the heaviest burden of providing consular services to Nigerian citizens in the U.S.
“Therefore, we are demanding the establishment of a separate server and passport printers for the consulates in New York and Atlanta. This will not only reduce the undue stress and frustration of many Nigerians who need prompt consular services at these two missions, it will also mitigate national security risks associated with immigration officers having to travel to Washington, DC, every month to print passports.
“It is imperative to safeguard Nigeria’s national database and the well-being of our dedicated immigration officers,’’ she said.
She emphasised that OAN and its partner organisations had worked diligently with the consulate in New York to improve the delivery of consular services to Nigerian citizens.
“The consular officers have responded very well to Nigerians seeking these services. We must not allow ineffective processes to put Nigerians at odds with one another.
“Our consular staff members deserve the support of our home government, to ensure they deliver efficient services to their fellow Nigerians,’’ she explained in the letter to the minister.
The OAN president expressed the organisations’ commitment to actively engaging with the minister’s office and other relevant authorities, both in Nigeria and the United States, to quicken the resolution of this issue.
She called on the Nigerian government to invest in the relevant technology infrastructure and support systems, as well as ensure the security and effectiveness of critical services for citizens abroad.
“The OAN is dedicated to the well-being and advancement of Nigerians living in the United States. We will continue to work diligently to provide support and updates as we collaborate with authorities to resolve the server and printer issues, and implement long-term solutions,’’ the letter read.
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