From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that there are no underhanded dealings in the issuance of passports at the Nigerian Embassy in France.
The Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the report in the Saturday Telegraph of January 9, 2021, allegedly linking the Embassy of Nigeria in France with passport racketeering was false.
‘The Ministry wishes to strongly refute the allegations in the report and state for the records that the Embassy of Nigeria in France is not engaged in such act.
‘The Ministry also wishes to emphasise that the allegation that applicants pay between 150-500 Euros for passports that cost 90 Euros is completely false. The fees for passport applications, which is the equivalent of 106 USD, are the same at Nigerian Missions worldwide. The information on the current charges and official procedure for services at the Embassy are well publicised,’ Nwonye said.
Nwonye also said the Embassy’s current online appointment system for applicants seeking passport and consular services was introduced over a year ago to promote transparency, streamline applications and ensure crowd control.
He added that in line with current regulations, Nigerians were expected to book for their appointments through the medium and only those with confirmed appointments were attended to.
‘The Ministry wishes to inform that the embassy has not engaged any agent or third party individuals to liaise with Nigerians when seeking appointments for its services and no one is expected to pay any hidden charges for services rendered at the Embassy. Therefore, Nigerians in France are advised to avoid dealing with anyone outside the Embassy or engage in any unofficial procedure when applying for a passport or any other consular services,’ Nwonye also said.
The spokesperson added that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 measures and the surge in the number of applicants who book for appointments, the Embassy currently had online passport applications bookings until the end of March 2021, which were being treated expeditiously.
‘The Ministry assures that the Nigerian Embassy in France will continue to efficiently render its services with professionalism and in line with COVID-19 health regulations,’ Nwonye further said.