A Nigerian citizen residing in the United States of America, Addy Olubamiji, shared her harrowing experience at the Nigeria House in New York while attempting to obtain passports for herself and her family.
In a tweet on Friday, Olubamiji expressed her frustration with the disrespectful treatment, inconsistent processes, delayed employee arrivals, and lack of empathy she encountered during the application process.
She recounted feeling belittled and moved to tears by the demeaning treatment she received.
“Let it be known that when diasporans try to stay patriotic to our country Nigeria, the systems kept making it difficult for us. We shouldn’t have to cry or plan to bribe or know that the system will not work,” Olubamiji said.
She said her ordeal led her to question her motivation for passport renewal and her desire to obtain one for her child, calling for a thorough examination and improvement of the structures and systems within Nigeria’s embassies worldwide.
In response to Olubamiji’s experience, several individuals shared similar accounts of their encounters with Nigerian embassies.
For example, a twitter user @im_ayodejiRN described the London embassy’s crowded conditions, where people were made to wait on the roadside and were confined to a cramped basement.
@amuta_ann shared her encounter at the Atlanta embassy, where staff members offered assistance in exchange for personal favours to expedite passport processing.
On a more positive note, another user, Babs Adewumi, mentioned his experiences with Nigeria’s embassy in New York and the comparatively smoother operations at the Ottawa office.
He, however, highlighted the challenge of reaching the Ottawa office by phone and emphasised the need for benchmarking, standardization, and performance tracking across Nigeria’s global embassy network.
An investigation by The ICIR [read here] shows that the issue is also obtainable within the country.
The criticisms shed light on the frustrations faced by Nigerians trying to obtain passports both within Nigeria and abroad, underscoring the urgent need for reforming the passport application process, ensuring consistency and efficient service delivery that respects the dignity and rights of all applicants.
Meanwhile, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Caroline Wura-Ola, Adepoju, has announced a state of emergency on passport matters.
Adepoju emphasised the need to address the challenges faced by Nigerians in obtaining passports and has directed all relevant personnel to work tirelessly towards eliminating hindrances to prompt passport access.