By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Dec. 21, 2022
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija has appealed to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to provide enhanced e-Passport printers for the Consulates in New York and Atlanta.
Egopija told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that provision of the printers would improve passport delivery services in the two missions.
NAN reports that the NIS had in May provided some computers and accessories for biometrics in the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, but the Envoy said the authorities installed the production centre only in the Washington DC mission, noting that Nigerians come to do their biometrics in New York and the Consulate would send the information to DC for production of the passports.
Egopija stressed that the process has been a great impediment to effective passport services with New York Consulate, covering 20 states, being a base for so many Passport requests.
“We’ve appealed to the authorities to reconsider and ensure that Atlanta and New York are given machines to produce Passports to strengthen and further improve the Passport delivery exercise.
“I think about that’s the only thing I would say has been an impediment. But aside from that, some of the teething problems are addressed as they come in,’’ he said.
Egopija told NAN that the Consulate would be targeting more states for Passport intervention exercises in 2023, noting that the mission is working on recalibrating its machines.
“You know we have migrated from the e-Passport now to the Enhanced e- Passport. So, we will need to recalibrate our machines.
“Once the machine is recalibrated to meet this new format, then we are open for business probably in the Spring.
“We’ll be good to go from place to place. We’ll probably start from the places we weren’t able to cover in 2022,’’ he said.
He further explained that the Immigration authorities would need to recalibrate the mobile machine currently being used for Passport intervention exercises to fit into the new system of enrollment.
In addition, Ambassador Egopija said the Consulate would continue to hold Town Hall Meetings with the Nigerian community within the New York jurisdiction in 2023, adding that the meetings have, among other advantages, served as a means of uniting Nigerians.
“You know Nigerians are clannish, they work from the particular to the general. They go from their local communities to their states and from their states to the federal level.
“So, we have registered all Nigerian associations within the New York Consulate’s jurisdiction, and we have also created a WhatsApp group to communicate with them,’’ he said.
According to him, the Town Hall meetings hold quarterly, and the Consulate has been organising it since 2021.
“Nigerians have expressed their satisfaction at the way the Consulate in New York and also our missions have been relating with our citizens and nationals,” he pointed out.