The Nigerian consulate issued on the unending campaign of calumny targeted at distracting members of the mission by vested interests masquerading as members of the defunct NUSA regarding the deterent fee of R2,000 charged by the mission for the re-issue of lost passports.
The fee was imposed in response to the high turnover of purportedly lost passports by Nigerians in our consular domain. At a rate of nearly 60 lost passports per month, it is apparent that there is something sinister and untoward about the astronomically high rate of loss declaration. Sources from the grapevine have revealed that these passports were not actually lost or stolen in most cases, but that Nigerians have devised an ingenious and illegal means of securing a second passport in furtherance of criminality and to break immigration rules to facilitate crime, including human trafficking. In particular, human traffickers have devised a means of ferrying several Nigerians on a single passport/visa, and late inundate the mission with requests for lost passports.
The high rate of the demand for re-issue of lost passports has prevented genuine applicants in need of re-issuing their expired passports, from doing so, thereby putting more pressure on the mission. it is on record that on several occasions, applicants who had initially claimed to have lost their passport have returned with these passports following insistence by the mission. Hence, the mission, while resolved to serve all Nigerians, cannot be complicit wittingly or unwittingly in the activities of those bent on undermining the immigration rules of both Nigeria and South Africa.
It is for these foregoing reasons that the Mission, following consultations adopted the measure of levying a deterrent fee to minimize or eliminate the criminality associated with the requests for re-issue of purportedly lost passports.
It also needs to be emphasized that before now passport agents had levied prospective applicants without recourse to the mission, sums in excess of R6,000 for processing lost cases, These agents, who mostly belonged to NUSA, have been milking Nigerians while corruptly enriching themselves. It is no wonder that they are opposed to the streamlining of this procedure by the mission. Hence the decision was taken to harmonize the procedure and to ensure that no Nigerian is extorted by the co-called elements claiming to protect the interests better than the mission.
While defunct NUSA in its bellicose tone aimed at inciting law-abiding Nigerians has painted a picture of doom and gloom and a fait accompli, nothing can be further from the truth. Applicants are not boxed into a corner! They have a choice to either tender the old passport or proceed to Nigeria to get it resolved. More importantly, the money so realized is paid directly into a dedicated Government account through electronic means devoid of any corruption tendency. the antics of defunct NUSA and it’s like cannot intimidate or coerce the mission in its desire to render selfless services to all Nigerians genuinely in need of same!
Nigerians are by this announcement advised keeping their international passports safe. They should be reminded that the international passport should not be carried physically at all times except when traveling. They are especially enjoined to use the functional phone and electronic channels of communication namely email, Facebook, and Twitter to relate their complaints or book an appointment to visit the mission. They could also contact their legitimate representatives in the mold of the provincial or national executives of NICSA, rather than resorting to the disinformation and evil tactics of disgruntled groups and elements