Nigerians in Diaspora decry passport scarcity


Nigerian passports

By Lizzy Okoji

Some Nigerians in Diaspora have decried the unavailability of Nigerian Passport booklets in missions abroad.

They described the situation as a threat to their stay and livelihood in their host countries.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Network (NDN), Germany, disclosed this on Friday at a rally in Oberhausen, Germany, via a video.

They called on the Federal Government to address the problem urgently.

The Chairman, NDN, Mr Victor Ojeabulu, said the predicament, if not urgently addressed would create more hardship for Nigerians and even put them at risk of deportation.

“We are here today to make a special appeal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We want to let him know the predicament in which our people are going through here in Germany.

“For some months, our people have not been able to obtain their Nigerian passport and a lot are going through hell; those working need to renew their passport for them to continue work,” he said.

He said that women, in particular, were finding it difficult to get passports for their children.

He said that women who were supposed to get their children registered officially by the state for them to continue their lives could no longer do all that because there were no passport booklets.

“It is very sad and as a mouthpiece of the people, the Nigerians in Diaspora Network, we felt we have to make an appeal to the Federal Government.

“I do not see any reason why our people should be going through all that, it is not responsible for our people to go through all these,” Ojeabulu said.

Also speaking, Mr Odijie Irabor, General Coordinator, NDN, said the passport remained the most important single identity document required for the purpose of international relations.

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Odijie urged the Federal Government to ensure the document was made available to its citizens in Diaspora as due.

He explained that they had in the past gone to neighbouring countries in Europe to get their passports issued or renewed but unfortunately, the scarcity has hit all countries in Europe.

“Today we are on a distress call on the Nigerian government to urgently address international passport dilemma in Diaspora.

“The sad story is that we book appointments for Nigerian international passport with Nigeria embassies; we travel unimaginable distance sometimes across international borders to pay and be captured for the passport.

“Thereafter, we are made to wait indefinitely on the ground that booklets are not available.

“Most times this happens when Nigerians needs this international passport urgently to renew their residency or embark on crucial documentation procedures in their respective countries.

“You can imagine how it sounds to return to your host government authority with a frivolous excuse why we cannot present our international passport on demand,” Odijie said.

Odijie said that the massive revenue potentials of passport issuance have been grossly underestimated.

“It has been conservatively estimated that over 10 million Nigerians are in Diaspora.

“If 50 per cent of five million are documented, they will request for passport renewal every five years at an average cost of 100 dollars.

“This will amount to foreign exchange earnings of Five hundred million dollars in five years cycle.

“The revenue accruing from international passport services in Nigeria is also staggering,” Odijie said.

Odijie urged the Nigerian government to look into the issue and investigate the artificial scarcity of the document by its staff for personal gains.

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