By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York has announced that the Consulate will start issuance of passport with 10 years validity to its nationals.
The Consul-General, Amb. Lot Egopija, who disclosed this at a virtual 4thTown Hall for Nigerian nationals within the New York jurisdiction, said the headquarters (Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs) had communicated the development to the Consulate.
“Last month (January) we were informed that 10 years passport will be brought to New York.
“We have been asked to prepare for the take- off to issue 10 years passport. We know to qualify for the 10 years passport, that applicant must have a National Identify Number (NIN),’’ he said.
Egopija, however, urged Nigerians who have not enrolled for NIN to do so, noting that information was displayed at the Consulate as that would be a prerequisite for getting the passport.
He said that the Nigerian Government had already designated some vendors to register Nigerians in diaspora for NIN.
The Nigerian envoy told the nationals that the Consulate had continued to do its best to improve services in the areas of passport issuance, renewal, and delivery, calling on their support to address challenges in timely delivery of passports.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting is to interact with them nationals on the achievements of the Consulate so far, to discuss challenges and harvest suggestions on the way forward.
A Nigerian community leader, Mr Francis James, who anchored the meeting, commended the Consul-General (CG) for his achievements, saying, “congratulations for excellent jobs.
“This statement is from comments people posts and make about the services render by the Consulate- General. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have any issue, but the CG has acknowledged that and talked about areas of progress.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the only Consulate in diaspora who consistently hold Town Hall to discuss with Nigerian citizens and I think the CG deserves a lot of commendation.
“We do appreciate you, your willingness to listen to Nigerian community and to continue to engage them,’’ he said.
The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some Nigerians raised issues on passport issuance, timely collection of passports, renewal of passports, Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC), among others.
A resident, Dr kazeem Bello, wanted the Consulate to educate Nigerians on the ETC as many who used it to travel home during the Yuletide were stranded.
For Rev Adekoya, he wanted to know what could be done in case of a passport lost in fire accident while Chuka Okoye sought for help in her passport that was lost by a Courier company.
Sylvester Atuegbu sought information on NIN and if it would be possible to convert application for the 5-year passport to getting a 10-year passport.
Ejike Ugochukwu, also asked the process of changing of names in passport renewal while Marian Olutusin, a student in the U.S., asked how she could renewal her passport.
Responding, Mr Okechukwu Iroamachi, Consul- Immigration and Community Relations appealed to Nigerians to apply six months to expiration of their passports and that they should endeavour to check the Consulate website for necessary information.
On ETC, Iromachi informed the nationals that using the certificate would allow for only one way trip, noting that even a Green Card holder would still need a valid U.S. or Nigeria passport to travel freely.
He said that information on lost passport, change of names and renewal of passport were on the Consulate website.
No fewer than 150 participants joined the first Town Hall in 2022. The 5th edition of the meeting is slated to hold in May. (NAN)
By Cecilia Ologunagba