The Senate has instructed the Home and Foreign Affairs Committees to engage ministers, the Comptroller General of Immigration, ambassadors and consular officers to introduce measures to make it easier for Nigerians abroad to renew their passports.
The decision was made after consideration of the request entitled: “Urgent need to remove the difficulties faced by Nigerians off the coast of Nigeria in renewing passports”.
The sponsor, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP – Edo South), condemned the difficulties faced by Nigerians in renewing travel documents.
The legislator said that the citizens of Austria, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States were the hardest hit.
Urhoghide noted that there are only four passport renewal centers in the United States – Atlanta, California, New York and Washington DC
“Applicants have been trying for months to renew expired passports. “Only those who turn to intermediaries or directly to embassy officials pay attention quickly,” he said.
The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee described a situation in which a Nigerian is being forced to physically attend the reconstruction.
Citing capture as a reason cited by the immigration service, Urhoghide said it was not sustainable because the applicants ’bio-data was already in the database.
The senator regretted that there are intermediaries in the reconstruction centers who work either with the employees of the Nigerian embassies or for them.
“This is especially true of recovery centers in the United States and Italy; videos of this practice have flooded social media. These intermediaries are asking Nigerians for money to book a capture date (interview), ”he added.
Urhoghide described how visa issuance, passport renewal and several other services provided by Nigerian embassies by officials and their foreign partners have turned into racketeering.
“Payment for the renovation is made by credit / debit cards of the owner or the owner only for himself. Payment for children or any other family member is made by referral which must be sent by mail. This recorded a lack of referrals. ”
Urhoghide added that federal officials cannot feign ignorance about the challenges facing citizens, the existence of intermediaries and the inadequacy of reconstruction centers.
The resolution instructed the competent ministries and agencies to increase the number of centers where passports can be renewed abroad, stop the use of intermediaries and periodically evaluate the activities of foreign missions.