With respect to the issuance of passport at the Nigerian Embassy in Sweden, I have written twice about this topic already. There was an article by a fellow named Felix Nestyy on Sahara Reporters on June 20 2013 calling for the closure of the Nigerian Embassy in Sweden.
Both of my previous articles were published at the Nigerian Village Square. The first one written on the 13th of March 2012 was titled “The Disgraceful Misadventure of the Nigerian Immigration Service”. I criticized severely the Nigerian immigration service for their cruel treatment of Nigerians through the cumbersome passport renewal processes. Nigerians abroad go through a lot of trauma and bouts of depressions while trying to renew or obtain new passports.
In the second article published on the 3rd of April 2013 I wrote an update titled: Nigeria Embassy in Sweden Gets First Biometric Machine.
For the records, Nigeria has operated an embassy in Sweden since 1967 and the embassy has been issuing / renewing passports for about 25 years.
When Mr. Onochie Amobi arrived in Sweden to oversee the affairs of Nigeria/Nigerians as the sole Ambassador of Nigeria to all the Scandinavian Islands, the most consistent part of his speeches until the early part of 2013 was his promise to stop the cumbersome processes that tail the re-issuance and acquisition of Nigerian passports.
True, new passports have been issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service in Stockholm since the first quarter of this year, 2013. The machines are still operational and new passports can be issued by the Embassy in Stockholm.
The areas that are problematic are the renewal of passports. The prevailing technical hitches are beyond the scope of the Embassy in Stockholm. To my knowledge, it is the function of the Nigerian Immigration Service to issue passports.
However the embassy does share some responsibilities in the overall procedures. It was easy to extend the validity of the old Nigerian passports by simply applying stamps with dates. With advances in technology, the bulk of the procedures nowadays and the actual issuance of the passports rest on authorized immigration officers who are representing the Nigerian Minister of Internal Affairs.
For some reasons that may not be unconnected to the “Nigerian factor” and the shameful work ethics of many Nigerians which continue to suffer severe moral decadence the Nigerian Immigration Services has failed to return some of the passports of those who applied for renewal since 2012. That was before the Biometric machines were installed in Sweden.
After the installation of the passport machines the Nigerian Immigration Services, Abuja has placed some clogs in the wheel of progress of the operations of the machines in Stockholm. It is highly unbecoming of a Federal Institution which in this case is either the Nigerian Immigration Service or its parent body-the Ministry of Internal Affairs to hinder progressive activities abroad through bottlenecks created at home.
To my knowledge the Nigerian embassy in Stockholm is working towards rectifying all the fault lines. The problematic issue has been brought to the attention of the concerned higher authorities. In the eyes of many Nigerians in Sweden, Mr. Amobi has uplifted the image of the Nigerian embassy in Stockholm, positively.
I am saying that the man is doing his job. I am a hardcore critic of the Nigerian government and I want to be able to raise my head high for as long as I write in public fora and for as long as I live. The last thing anyone will read from me is praise-singing of a Nigerian politician or public servant. For more than 12 years and until this day I refused to praise people for doing what their offices or job description stipulated.
It is ideal to state things just as they are. Mr. Amobi is a career diplomat who promised to put a stop to the “flying immigration”-my phrase for the Nigerian immigration officers flying around the world to “do passports”. It came to pass early this year.
The Nigerian Embassy under him has recovered from a very battered image to a glorious one. His open door policy and readiness to meet with individuals or groups at short or drop-in notices is unprecedented of 99.9% of Nigerian public office holders, I dare say.
The problems with the issuance or renewal of passports in Sweden, Finland, Norway or anywhere else abroad is essentially the problem of the Nigerian Immigration Service with headquarters in Abuja, the capital of corrupt Nigeria.
Our anger should be directed at the Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Patrick Abba Moro, who manages the Immigration services and the Minister of External Affairs Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru, who must make sure that services connected to the Nigerian embassies around the world are rendered without the usual, totally nonsensical “Nigerian-factor” and “Nigerian-mentality” syndromes.
The Ambassadors (good or bad) already have enormous tasks on their hands. It is outrageous if the Nigerian Immigrations Service is expecting the ambassadors or the passport applicants to drop Ghana-must-go back at its doors in Abuja. From Stockholm or elsewhere from the Scandinavian Islands, it will not happen.
Those who own the passports are students who want to travel for research and other purposes. They are honest people trying to gain employment so they can send money to Nigeria to support their families and friends. For several years Nigerians abroad have sent billions of dollars home annually thereby preventing the massively looted economy from collapsing. The people who own these passports or who are trying to get new ones are people who need to legalize/regularize their stay and move on with their lives.
Without delay this matter should take the priority of both Misters Moro and Ashiru. They should ensure that passports taken to Nigerian by the “Flying Immigration officers” are quickly returned. Delays are always dangerous. Who does not know that a stitch in time saves nine?
The problems with the re-issuance of passport at the embassies caused by lapses in Abuja should be resolved immediately. The biometric machines have been supplied, let us be honest with ourselves and our brethren abroad: bring in trained and trustworthy immigration workers to the embassies and let the glory of your country Nigerian shine.
Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.