26th May, 2021
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Eighteen Nigerians have been defrauded in London, United Kingdom by passport racketeers while trying to renew or acquire Nigerian passports.
Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this in a statement issued by the Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
Dabiri-Erewa hailed the Nigerian High Commission in the UK for its concerted effort to put a stop to passport racketeering in London.
She also applauded the efforts of the new Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK Amb. Sarafa Tunji Isola for his efforts so far.
Amb. Sarafa Tunji Isola upon resumption of duties held several strategic meetings with relevant staff of the mission to brainstorm on the best ways to address the incessant allegations of corruption and other negative reports on the issuance of the Nigerian passport in London as well as restoring the credibility of the mission in the process.
“These new efforts led to the discovery that 18 innocent Nigerians have paid between £200 and £350 to racketeers in their bid to urgently renew and acquire the Nigerian passport,’ she disclosed.
The NIDCOM boss applauded the new Ambassador and his team in their quest to restore the mission’s credibility while urging Nigerian communities to always visit the mission on any matter concerning their stay in the UK and avoid patronizing touts.
Dabiri-Erewa noted that the mission has confirmed the availability of sufficient passport booklets for deserving applicants.
She joined the UK mission in appreciating the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service for ensuring that adequate passport booklets were available at the High Commission.
“The mission has resumed the Fast-Track services in line with the global practices for Nigerians with urgent reasons for passport renewal,” she added.
The High Commission had suspended services to Nigerians in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed in April 2021 following the lifting of the lockdown restrictions by the British government.
As of 31st March 2021, there was a backlog of 18,000 applications awaiting processing, which were accumulated between December 2019 to March 2021.
A total of 8,852 out of 9,964 passports were captured from the backlog.