By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Feb. 19, 2023
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, has said that 400 Nigerian passports remain uncollected at the Consulate, urging the applicants to come forward and claim them.
Egopija disclosed this at the virtual 8th Town Hall Meeting with the Nigerian Community in the New York Jurisdiction on Friday.
“Right now, we have so many uncollected passports. As at the last count, we have 400 uncollected passports that were produced within the last two years,” he said.
“We have posted the names of the original owners of the documents on our website and also on our community platform, the WhatsApp group,” he added.
“We have also asked the different chapters of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), and other relevant groups, to bring it to the notice of their members,” he said.
“Please, while you get this, circulate and bring to the notice of your members, let them send self-addressed envelopes to us and we would post these documents to them,’’ he said.
According to him, some passports were earlier posted to the addresses provided but they were returned to the Consulate.
He urged those that would like to renew their passports to do so before they expire, saying, “if you begin on time, you’ll certainly get your passports renewed before the expiration date or your intended travel date.
The envoy explained that the call for early renewal of passports (at least six months before expiration) was because the Consulate does not have printing machines to produce passports in New York.
“We have been exploring a kind of model where we go to Washington DC once in a month to produce the passports, pending the time when the machine will be installed in New York,’’ he said.
According to him, there are three categories of the new Enhanced e-passport, listing them as the 32-page passport validity, five years, 64-page and 10 years 64-page passport.
He advised applicants to indicate the passport category in their forms, noting that all the categories of passports will require the National Identification Number (NIN).’’
Egopija said that the nationals could look up the updated information of NIN centres on its website.
The Consul General said the updated information on NIN had been sent to the WhatsApp platform for the community leaders to pass the information to their members.
He assured that any applicant that meets the requirement would get his or her passport between six and eight weeks, noting that passport timeline for collection is usually in two or three months.
In addition, he assured that the Consulate would continue to be responsive to the yearnings of its nationals, adding that the mission has started to recalibrate or change its telephone system to make communication with its officials more seamless.
“We are returning to the old system where all the phone lines will go to the operator who will receive the calls and now send it to the relevant officers,” he said.
He urged the associations and groups’ leaders to inform the Consulate about their activities for the year so that the Consulate can participate and factor them into its own programmes.
He said that the Mission would be relating with its nationals more this year by visiting them and attending their events, saying, we are open to attending your events if you inform us in time.
“You should let us know when you intend to host or have your National Days and the Flag Raising ceremony, we will come and support you,’’ he assured.