It is disheartening, shameful, sickening and sad to know that in the 21st Century, a country of over 170 million can come to this. These were some of the comments by very disappointed and angry Nigerians today, 1st of August 2016 at the Nigeria High Commission, London United Kingdom.
Some of the disgusted citizens who spoke to themidwestjournal.com lamented that events like this explains why most countries of the world loathe Nigeria among the comity of nations. “I was meant to pick my Nigeria passport on July 19th but till today, 1st August 2016, and after numerous visits to the Northumberland office of the High Commission, my passport has not been issued to me. I was going to use it for a Canadian visa application but that seems to have gone up the air now. This is very sad. What is difficult in printing of passport booklets that a big country like Nigeria cannot.” The case of Henry Adun is even more pathetic. He has an interview for a top job in Abuja on 12th August 2016. “I even bought my flight ticket to Nigeria. I have been chasing this career-defining job for the past one and a half years”. (Even showed TMJ the flight ticket). Whosoever is responsible for this failure will never enjoy his or her life if I miss out on this great job.” When TMJ asked him while he cannot make the trip home with a Travel certificate. Travel certificate is only for a one-way journey and since I am not yet a British passport holder, I will be unable to return back to the UK.
On his part, Demola another Nigerian said it is the second time he has travelled down to London from Newcastle and yet no passport available. Many others spoke of their utter dismay at this show of shame by the Ministry of Interior, the Nigeria Immigration Service and all those whose responsibility it is to make this little green booklet available to Nigerians.
Speaking to some of the High Commission officials who pleaded anonymity, TMJ learnt that the non-availability of the 32 page Nigeria passport booklet is a sad development. They queried the authorities in Nigeria to move swiftly in the interest of Nigerians who need the document for different purposes. They also intimated TMJ of their ordeal from Nigerians who feel short-changed by the NO BOOKLET SAGA. Efforts by our reporters to contact the Acting Nigeria High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Simon Ogah and the Top NIS official in Abuja were not successful. The issue of the Nigerian passport has been a recurring decimal in recent times. The life span of the current e-passport is 5 years instead of the conventional 10 years as obtained in other climes. A Nigerian is thus forced to pay twice for the issuance of the passport every 5 years. The old practice of the use of renewal stamped inside in a 5 years old passport has long been discontinued. The 32 page passport booklet costs $112 paid via the Innovate1 portal, the I.T firm who handles the online payment system and a processing fee of £20 paid via postal order at the High Commission for Nigerians in the UK. The disenchanted Nigerians all called on the concerned Nigerian authorities to urgently address this issue and save the nation this embarrassment.