Nigerians in New York, U.S, have asked the Federal Government to supply 7,000 passport booklets to the Nigeria Consulate in New York, to clear the backlog of applications.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Nigerians, under the aegis of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN Inc.), made the request at a virtual Town Hall meeting on Wednesday in New York.
The meeting was at the instance of the OAN to address the shortage of passport booklets in Nigerian consulates in the U.S.
According to the group, the Nigerian Consulate in New York has not been able to produce passports for applicants in the last four weeks in spite of their best efforts, until Wednesday.
One of the leaders of OAN, Mr James Francis, said the consulate had a backlog of about 7,000 passports that needed to be issued.
“The information we got is that the consulate got delivery of only 2,000 booklets on Wednesday,’’ Francis said.
Mr Yinka Dansalami, Chairman, Board of OAN, urged the Federal Government to sustain the provision of at least 2,000 booklets monthly to the Consulate.
Dansalami said the steady supply of the booklets would prevent disruption of services and correct the impression that the consulate was offering poor services.
“Disruption in issuance of passport can lead to frustration on the part of the staff at the consulate and Nigerians in general,’’ the Chairman said.
Reacting to the information from the leaders of the association, some members urged the Ministry of Interior, through the Nigerian Immigration Service, to provide adequate booklets to clear the backlog and ensure effective service.
One of the members, Mr Ade Oluwo, said he heard that the Federal Government had sent 2,000 booklets to the consulate, as against the 1,000 and 500 booklets it normal sent.
“2,000 booklets cannot solve our problems in New York. They are 7,000 passports backlog already to clear. We should be talking about 40,000 booklets to put an end to this incessant problem,” he said.
Also, speaking, Mr Joseph Onilalagha, urged the Federal Government to fast-track the issuance of a 10-year validity passport to reduce frequent visits to the missions.
Mrs Okoro Onyedika, said supply of 2,000 passport booklets was certainly inadequate and would not meet the needs of Nigerians in New York.
“This number is not going to work for us, the New York Consulate produces more passports than the other two missions in the U.S., so it needs minimum of 50,000 booklets.
“These 2,000 booklets will not be enough for three states, not to talk of the 20 states under the jurisdiction of the Nigerian Consulate in New York.
“This is becoming a big problem, every now and then, no booklets, so let the Federal Government provide enough booklets to the consulates abroad to prevent this embarrassment,’’ Onyedika said.
Confirming the development, an official at the consulate, who pleaded on anonymity, told NAN that the mission received 2,000 booklets on Wednesday, and had resumed its passport insurance immediately.
The source confirmed that the consulate had a backlog of 7,000 passports to clear, and that a steady supply of 2,500 booklets monthly, would be enough to meet the needs of its citizens in New York.
According to the source, the consulate normally receives 1,000 booklets monthly sometimes 500, explaining that insufficient booklets is responsible for the backlog.
“We need the 7,000 booklets to clear the backlog first, then, with 2,500 booklets monthly, we will be able to meet the need of our nationals.”