By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, June 3, 2023
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija has advised Nigerians in the U.S. against using middlemen to process their passports and other documents in the missions.
Egopija gave the advice at the hybrid 9th Town Hall Meeting with the Nigerian Community within New York Jurisdiction held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Dominion Cathedral, Orange, New Jersey.
The envoy said the Consulate opposed using middlemen as that might be a reason why some nationals experience delay in receiving their passports.
“If you have any questions about passport application, please, call us or send an e-mail to us. We respond to e-mails within 48 hours, so you don’t need to go through middlemen,’’ he said.
Egopija said the Consulate would do everything to ensure that nationals within the 20 US states covered by the New York jurisdiction continued to enjoy better services.
“We have been doing everything to ensure that Nigerians who visit the Consulate get desired services and also doing our best to address some of the teething problems in the processing of passports, he said.
He, however, assured the nationals that some of the issues raised during the meeting, especially on timely communication with the Consulate’s officials and updates on passports interventions in some states, especially with regard to outstanding passports, would soon be addressed.
“We will work with the community leaders and post some necessary information on the community whatsapp for our nationals to be well informed about our services.
“Also, feel free to call me on my number and I will attend to you if our call centre is busy,’’ the Envoy said and released his telephone number to participants onsite and online.
Egopija recalled that he pledged, in the last Town Hall Meeting, that the 9th edition would be held outside New York City to get feedback from the nationals and update them on developments at the Consulate.
“We also thought that since we work with Nigerians, it will also be necessary for us to meet our nationals and feel their pulse in their various states. So that is the reason for holding this meeting in New Jersey,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Consulate also sensitised the nationals on procedure for authenticating documents and informed them on the passport application.
Among the officers on the Consul General’s team to the Meeting was Consul Onilede Mosun (Immigration).
Earlier, the President of NIDO, New Jersey Chapter, Dr Adeola Popoola said the chapter had been collaborating with the Consulate to deliver services to Nigerians in the state.
According to him, the chapter remains united and will continue to contribute its quota to the wellbeing of its members.
“We are not divided; we’re happy to tell you that the organisation stands with the government, we stand with the people, and we hope we can make Nigeria greater in this dispensation.’’
Some nationals who spoke commended the Consulate for its commitment to improving consular services and for holding the Town Hall meetings, which they believe would further improve service delivery.
Senior Pastor of RCCG Dominion Cathedral, Pastor (Dr.) Toyin Laoye, welcomed the Consul General and his team to the meeting, commended NIDO for the decision to hold the program in the Church and prayed for it to be well with Nigeria and all her nationals in diaspora and at home.
The program was attended onsite by many, including the President of NIDO, New York, Bobby Digi Olisa, executives and members of NIDO, New Jersey, the President of the Nigerian-American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC), Dr. Nelson Aluya, the Council Chairman, City of East Orange City Council, Hon. Christopher Awe, the President of Association of Nigerian Physicians in America (ANPA), New Jersey chapter, Dr. Eniola Ogunmefun, Dr. Adeniyi Ogunkoya and Engineer Simon Awofesobi, among others.
Many more nationals participated online, including leaders of the Nigerian community resident in other states of the US within the Jurisdiction of the New York Consulate.