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Ambassador Lot Egopija, Consul General of Nigeria in New York, USA

Nigerian Consulate in New York issues 14,758 passports in 2021

Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York attending to passport applicants at Nigeria House in New York

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, March 9, 2022

The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York says it produced 14,758 passports in 2021 in spite of the perennial shortage of booklets that hampered smooth operations of the passport section.

The Consulate-General, Amb. Lot Egopija, disclosed this in a report of the activities of the Consulate in 2021 obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York.

The report said the shortage of passports booklets hindered operations at the consulate in 2021 and in spite of repeated requests to the headquarters, the Consulate did not receive enough booklets to meet its demand.

It noted that the turnaround time for passport production for 2021 average was 12 to 14 weeks.

The Consulate stated that it embarked on passport intervention exercise in Chicago from 26 to 28 August, 2021, noting that there were still outstanding passports from between 2018 and 2019 in Chicago, Minnesota and Indianapolis.

“Also, there are outstanding requests for passports from Nigerian community in Philadelphia, Minnestota, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.,” it said

On Visa, the Consulate disclosed that it issued 2,240 visas of different categories in the year under review, noting that there were issues of inadequate appointment slots for prospective visa applicants, particularly towards the end of 2021.

However, it stated that the Consulate and VFS (the visa processing facility), made efforts to create more slots for visa interviews.

In addition, it stated that 2,224 Emergency Travel Certificates (ETCs) were issued between January to November 2021 while about 900 ETCs were issued in December alone.

“This is a result of inadequate passport booklets to serve the huge number of Nigerians who needed to travel home for the usual end-of-the-year festivities.’’

In the year under review, the Consulate took delivery of three works of arts, namely two 16th Century Brass Plaques from the Court of Benin and a 14th Century Brass Head from Wummonije compound in Ife.

It took the delivery of the arts in collaboration with the Nigeria National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and the works were released by the Metropolitan Museum (MET), New York.

On Saturday, July 24, the Consulate-General held its first Cultural Show at the Cultural Centre of Nigeria House, New York, chaired by Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The aim of the event was to showcase Nigeria’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals to the outside world.

“It featured the Osun-Osogbo Festival and the Argungu Fishing Festival as well as cultural dance troupes from across the country, fashion displays representing Nigeria’s diversity, and musical performances.’’

According to the report, the Consulate General hosted its second Cultural show on December 4, chaired by Amb. Zubairu Dada, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

“The event showcased the diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals of Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River and Rivers states.

“Following the show, the Consulate was approached by the Governor of Zamfara State and well as representatives of Bayelsa, asking to collaborate with the Consulate to promote their states at upcoming cultural shows.’’

Also, the Consulate was presented with an abstract acrylic painting by a 11-year old Autistic Nigerian boy, Kanyeyachuckwu Okeke, who came all the way from Nigeria with his family to donate a painting to the Consulate in commemoration of Nigeria’s independence.

“Okeke was among the list of artists from around the world exhibiting their works at the prestigious New York Art Exhibition.

“He also presented to Tore Hattrem, President of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one of his paintings titled “Basket of Unit”, as a donation to help spread awareness about the scourge of autism and the “no child left behind” campaign of the artist’s K.A.S. Foundation.’’

In addition, the Consulate General launched its cultural centre/library, located on the 6th floor of Nigeria House. It is equipped with an organised collection of sculptures and items representing various regions of the country as well as books, publications and journals about Nigeria and other relevant information.

“The library is a source of information, reference and serves as an important cornerstone for Nigeria to preserve and transfer its diverse culture down generations.’’

The Consulate also facilitated the theatrical release of the Nigerian film, Eyinmofe (This is My Desire), in the U.S. The film was acquired in May 2021 by Janus/Criterion, making it the first Nigerian film to be part of the prestigious and world-renowned Criterion collection.

“The film opened in cinemas on July 23rd in New York city and later in other cities, including Washington DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Maryland,’’ it stated.

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