THE Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, says it issued a total of 10,341 passports from March, 2020, to May, 2021.
Mr Abdul Malik Ahmed, Nigeria’s Consul-General in Johannesburg, made this known in his address at a town hall meeting with the Nigeria community, on Sunday.
The mission’s Consular jurisdiction covers six provinces of the country, comprising Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.
He stated that the office was the only passport processing centre in Southern Africa and one of Nigeria’s most crucial missions abroad.
“Between March 2020 and May 2021, the Mission issued 10, 341 passports; till date we have a backlog of 3,946 awaiting production.
“This includes mobile interventions in Cape Town, Durban, Lesotho and Namibia, applicants scheduled awaiting data capture stand at 1,421 and the mission also has a total of 404 unclaimed passports.
“We, therefore, urge all those whose passports were processed between August 2020, till pending 6 batch, to come and collect their passports.
“To facilitate service delivery on first-come, first-served basis, these backlogs have been classified into batches, Pending 6 – 22, as a function of the time of data capture”, he added.
Ahmed noted that applicants with very urgent passport needs and clear verifiable proofs were accorded expedited processing from the office of the Consul-General.
He also said that applicants were kept informed about passport issuance, through phone, email and other electronic means, as soon as the batches were produced for pick-up.
The consul-general noted the grievance by a section of the community over the re-introduction of administration fees and charges for lost passports, explaining that the fees were approved for collection by the headquarters in Abuja.
“On this issue, the Mission could not unilaterally impose any charges without headquarters’ approval or consent; the administration fee of R120 pertains to all services rendered by the two Missions.
“The decision was taken during a meeting of the two Missions, to harmonise and standardise Consular and Visa services rendered, to ensure there were no disparities.”
The envoy stated that between August 2020 and May 2021, a total of 484 passports was reported missing with requests for re-issuance, noting the criminal undertones and infractions of Immigration rules associated with lost passport declarations.
He, however, assured of the mission’s commitment to maintain standards, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to achieve set targets.
“In line with practices in other Missions, there was the need to impose fines to deter people from engaging in such infractions, the option will be to refer such losses to Nigeria for processing.
“This will save booklets for genuine requests for re-issue and reduce the backlog and pressure on the Mission.
“We have received instructions to embargo processing of lost cases, pending directives from headquarters.
“Our assumption of office coincided with the gradual return to normalcy, following the prolonged lockdown from March to August, 2020, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite partial lockdown, the Mission worked to meet the needs of Nigerians and other nationals. No wonder this Mission is adjudged as the most effective and efficient passport station by the headquarters in recent times,” he said.
– June 20, 2021 @ 14:43 GMT |