The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York says the 64-page passport booklet is now available, calling on nationals to apply for it.
The Consul-General, Amb. Lot Egopija, disclosed this at a hybrid Town Hall Meeting of Nigerians which held at the Nigeria House, New York.
Egopija advised Nigerians, who had applied for the 32-page passport booklet, to upgrade to the 64-page version so that they could get it faster.
“Those who are rushing for Christmas and are still wondering if they could get passports, the 64-page passport booklet is available for them.
“If you have paid for the 32-page passport booklet before now and you have not done your biometrics, you can upgrade by paying the difference in fee.
“But if you have done your biometrics, you will have to be patient and wait to get your passport till the expiration of the time we have given to you,’’ he said.
Egopija told nationals that the consulate, after the last Town Hall meeting in July, took due note of some concerns raised by Nigerians and had been improving on its services across-the-board.
Chiefly among them, he said, was that the consulate had started responding efficiently and very promptly to mails received on consular and other matters.
“We have also improved to some extent on our telephony system. Only last week, we got an offer from the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) to support us.
“The proposal by OAN will also support our website to ensure all our communication platforms are working effectively,’’ he said.
In addition, he said the consulate had organised a cultural show to showcase some distinct cultures in Nigeria, which focused was on the Argungu Fishing Festival and the Osun-Osogbo Festival.
The envoy said the Osun-Osogbo Festival had produced results as some of the US tourists were satisfied with what they saw in Nigeria and were telling their compatriots about their experience.
“We shall be having another cultural show in December and this time, we shall be showcasing some cultures from Akwa Ibom, Benue, Rivers and Cross River,’’ he said.
Egopija said the consulate had embarked on passport intervention in Chicago and had been clearing backlogs from previous programmes.
“Also, winter is coming and we cannot continue subjecting our citizens to waiting outside, so we have made the waiting room available.
“We have told our nationals, they don’t need to come in here before 9 a.m. but should anyone come in as from 8 a.m. they will be ushered into the waiting area.
“So this is another area we have looked into at this time to ensure that our nationals are protected because if they are sick, we will also be looking after them.’’
In her remarks, Nigeria’s Ambassador to US, Dr Uzoma Emenike, pointed out the importance of Nigerians in the diaspora working with the Nigerian missions abroad.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr Uzoma Emenike, responds to questions by Nigerian nationals at a Town Hall organised by the Consulate-General of Nigeria at Nigeria House in New York.“I have always told people that we (diplomatic officials) cannot do it without the Nigerians in the diaspora; it is not possible. We always have to work hand-in-hand with our nationals,’’ she said.
Emenike told the meeting that the achievements of the Consulate-General in New York were being replicated at the Consulate in Atlanta and the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, D.C.
“We (principal representatives of the three missions in the U.S.) are all on the same page because we know what Nigerians go through.
“We are here to help in whatever way we can to alleviate some of these issues,’’ she said.
The Nigerian ambassador commended Egopija for fixing the problems of Nigerians loitering around the Nigeria House in New York by creating a holding room.
Emenike explained that the Nigerian embassy had also created a holding room for nationals because the citizens deserved to be treated with dignity.
“There is no way Nigerians will come and they are talking to them through the gate. No way! I am glad he too is implementing that here,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was the third this year in the Town Hall series held by the Consulate with the Nigerian community in New York.
NAN reports that the town hall meeting was attended by many Nigerians both in-persons and on Zoom, including Amb. Amina Smaila, Consul-General of Nigeria in Atlanta, who attended the meeting virtually.
Amb. Ngozi Ukeje, a Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms Aisha Dewa, a Minister in the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, who is in charge of Trade and Investment, also attended the Town Hall meeting.