By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York has announced that it will start the issuance of passports with 10-year validity to Nigerians.
The Consul-General, Ambassador Lot Egopija, who disclosed this at the fourth virtual town hall meeting 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 the information was displayed at the Consulate and it would be a prerequisite for getting the passport.
He said that the 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 for their support to address the challenges in the timely delivery of passports.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting is to interact with Nigerian nationals on the achievements of the Consulate so far, to discuss challenges and harvest suggestions on the way forward.
A Nigerian community leader, Francis James, who anchored the meeting, commended the Consul-General for his achievements.
“This statement is from comments people post and make about the services rendered 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 the 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 the Nigerian community and to continue to engage them,’’ James said.
Some Nigerians also raised issues on passport issuance, timely collection of passports, renewal of passports, emergency travel vertificate, among others.
No fewer than 150 participants joined the first town hall in 2022.
The fifth edition of the meeting is slated to hold in May.