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E-PASSPORT ISSUED TO NIGERIANS IN GREECE FOR THE FIRST TIME- IS THE BITTER DAYS OVER? THE EMBASSY OF NIGERIA IN ATHENS AND ITS PATH TO PROGRESS

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (3)


At first, when we got the information that two Ambassadors in their capacity from the Nigeria Foreign ministry was posted to Greece in June, 2012- it seems more worrying to most Nigerians living in Greece and we thought this is the same politician’s jamboree as usual since the Mission was unable to install the most needed E-PASSPORT MACHINE for its citizens after its arrival to the Mission at about 1.30pm on Thursday March 24th, 2011.

 

However His Excellency, Ambassador Ayodele Lawrence Ayodeji the Nigeria’ Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and his Deputy Head of Mission (DHM), Ambassador Christian N. Iroala arriving Greece not as many would anticipated. H.E Ambassador Ayodele L. Ayodeji coming from Germany and Ambassador C.N. Iroala coming from South Africa their last service posting, would not only test each individual career’s ability but also their new office position as Head of Mission and Deputy Head of Mission respectively.

 

The Embassy of Nigeria in Athens under its current administration had worked vigorously not only to have the long-laying waste E-PASSPORT MACHINE installed at the Mission but the Equipment was installed in a new Property just acquired my the Embassy within just eight months of their arrival in Greece.

 

Our correspondents speaking with His Excellency on the possibility of the Machine serving the needs of Nigerians in the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Ayodeji L. Ayodeji made it clear that among his assignments to Greece, is to serve Nigerians and making sure that Nigerians are well protected hence the E-passport is issued to Nigerians within two (2) minutes as we speak.

 

When asked about the possibility of his claim because Nigerians had lost faith in the Embassy for the issuing of the E-passport here in Greece; He went further to express the commitment of his entire staff, the assistance and mutual understanding of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) at such a critical stage of restating the Image of Nigeria, bringing charges within the Embassy as well challenges faced by Nigerians in the host country.

 

The Embassy had worked tirelessly to get the IT officers from the NIS here to have the Machine installed in February and now the Mission also has Four (4) Immigration officers on ground from Nigeria doing the job here at the Embassy, these officers will be in the Mission for one month in order to clear all pending cases. While still speaking on the possibility of Nigerians having their E-passport issued here in Greece, a Nigerian was issued with the said E-PASSPORT within just two minutes which we (EMSGR) can confirm as we trying to put-up this report. The question is, why allowing Nigerians to go through bitter days for so long if the E-passport can only take less than five (5) minutes to be issued?

 

The Embassy is pleading with Nigerians to come in person for the services they need from the Embassy. “It is their (Nigerians) right to come to the Embassy and request for legitimate services from us but NO Nigerian has the right to walk into the Embassy and insult my officers while he or she is try to serve Nigerians, this I will not accept from anyone” added the Ambassador. “YOU DO NOT REQUIRE ANY THIRD PARTY OR PROXY. YOU ARE TO PAY ONLY THE FEE STIPULATED BY LAW AND REFUSE TO PAY ANY INDUCEMENT TO ANYBODY. ALSO INSIST ON OBTAINING THE OFFICIAL RECEIPT FOR ANY PAYMENT YOU MAKE” as delivered on a keynote address by Ambassador C.N. Iroala the Deputy Head of Mission for His Excellency, Ambassador Ayodele L. Ayodeji on the occasion of NIDOE Greece Chapter’s launching of its Blueprint for the year 2013 in Athens on Saturday, March 30, 2013.

 

We are working to get you further update regarding this development.

NIGERIAN PASSPORT: BETTER DAYS AHEAD FOR NIGERIANS IN GREECE WITH THE NEW NIGERIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Citizen’s Identity is the pride of a nation, securing such identification and citizen’s data has become a concern and greater challenges for the Nigerian government in recent years as Nigerians look ahead for a better days in Greece.On assumption of office by the New Nigerian Ambassador, his efforts to bring back the lost glory on our international identification documents, as well the struggle to improve the status of Nigerians in Greece commence with high spirit as Nigerians starts witnessing a new-better human value and treatments upon arrival of Ambassador Ayodeji L. Ayodele and his new entire diplomatic team to the Embassy in the Hellenic Republic.

The Controller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma


Speaking with His Excellency, Ambassador Ayodele during a visit to the Nigerian Embassy on issue of just concluded e-Passport’s intervention exercise for Nigerians in Greece for the August, 2012 Passport’s intervention program by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), our organization was made to understand, Nigerians that was scanned during this period starting from Monday July 30th to Friday August 10th, 2012 have their e-Passport available for collection on Wednesday 22nd August, 2012, however both the Ambassador and Immigration' officials led by Mrs. L. S. Mallim also lamented over the numbers of citizens (applicants) that they have their passport unprocessed due to one reason and the others (those who were trying to obtain another E-passport after the first issuing which the e-passport’s command system in Abuja rejected) “these are the only people their passports were not produced during this exercise”. The shocking revelation means, the Embassy must find a away to tackle the predicament for those affected.


We also gathered that the total production this time, which we were able to confirm from the list in print at the Embassy, account for a record breaking e-passports being issued to Nigerians in a single passport’s intervention exercise since the start of passport’s intervention exercises by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) in the past two years Nigerians queuing for the E-passport in Greece not to mentioned, the time it took officers from the NIS to made the passports available for collection at the Embassy.


The question is,  do they (Nigeria Immigration Service) have such qualified officers over the years? All that the Embassy received as sent by HQ in the past for the intervention exercise, on our views were some group of holiday makers as they produce e-passport with a lot of errors. As one Nigerian would put it, "from my name and photo image, am I not a female, but  why would my passport be issued on Male gender?This is unforgivable mistake and I do not believe that these immigration officers are trained professional on the job" with reference to the previously sent NIS officials to the Embassy.

Nigerians at the Embassy of Nigeria in Athens Greece (2010 file photos)

As one officer puts it, “the team that came for this intervention exercise are senior and professional officials” unlike the past exercise for Nigerians, the August, 2012 witness officials of the NIS’ team to Greece going to the Embassy of Nigerian in Paris, France to produce a total of more than four hundred (400) passports within just four (4) days but unable to process a total of One hundred and twenty-five (125) of applications the Immigration’s system in Abuja rejected due to “Data Rejected, Duplicate, Already Produced and Various Problems” but lost, damage or other fact without following the immigration or government legal procedure in having a re-issue after first issued are also rejected.


For those under the rejected category, there is hope of having their e-passport with the help and interventions by ambassador Ayodele requesting for forgiveness to those affected with the Controller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma. His office (Ambassador) advice Nigerians affected to contact the embassy to get the accurate information needed to approve the rejection.


More also, the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Hellenic republic confirm to our organization that the E-passport machine that arrived in the Embassy on Thursday March 24th, 2011 as reported on our website will be install and being put in use before the end of September, 2012 bringing to an end the difficulty of securing the e-passport at the Embassy by Nigerians resident in Greece. “I personally met with the head of the Immigration in Nigeria over the passport circumstances in Greece and I gave them my term over the passport machine left uninstall at the Embassy…” Ambassador Ayodele added. This has be his daily public address to Nigerians that went for the collection of the e-passport at the Embassy’s entrance hall as they wait to make the Thirty euro (30.00 €) administrative fees before collection.


 Confirming the total production and time spent in Greece throughout the exercise with Immigration officials, Mrs. L. S. Mallim, Head of the team, Barr. Jerry Omezi, immigration’s legal adviser and Mr. Ahmed Abudlrahman who just arrived at the Embassy from France where they went for the production and also on their way to the Athens international airport to borad a flight back to Nigeria on August 16, 2012 express their preparedness and determination in having the e-passports problem in Greece resolved within their approve time in Greece along side with the help and supports of Embassy’s official bring them to this far with the total production. They were able to confirm the figure with our Organization’s representative as they speed-off the Embassy to the airport at about 3.45pm to board a 5.00pm flight back to Abuja.


“The Embassy requested for more days for us to continue with the intervention exercise, the request was not granted by the Immigration headquarter in Abuja, hence we must return as you can see, we have unused e-passport booklets that we are returning with... Still with the little time on our side, we were able to produce all scanned passport exception of applicants who have problem with the DATA REJECTION” added Mrs. L. S. Mallim leader of the team to Athens in the August exercise.


“We here at the Embassy would want to serve, help and transform the living situation of Nigerians in Greece but they (Nigerians) must help the Embassy too for us to serve them right.” “Nigerians should be honest with us and abide with the laws of the host country they reside with this also, we as embassy can provide a better way forward…” this are words of Ambassador Ayodele.


As one officer at the Embassy puts it “You people have never had a career diplomat as an ambassador since the Embassy was established in Greece, all you people (Nigerians) have till now are political appointees… But both the head of the mission and his deputy this time are career diplomats”. Nigerians in Greece look up to them to make the most anticipated changes they hope for over Ten years.


In other news development, the new Consular General, Mrs. Mopelola Ibrahim took over all consulate activities from the out going Mr. J.S.O Akinsanya on Thursday 16th August, 2012. On assumption of office, she starts dealing and over seeing the e-passport’s collection exercise and at the same time attending to uncountable numbers of Greeks visa applications.

 

YOUR IDENTITY, NIGERIAN PASSPORT, AT 49TH YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE; WHO ARE WE?

Posted on September 30, 2009 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (3)

 

Recently, for the purpose of getting records straight without dabbling in to fiction, let have the information accurate according to the notice. On 21st August, 2009, the Embassy of Nigeria Athens Greece issued ageneral public notice to all Nigerians living in Greece, that publication was sign by J.S.OAkinsanya for the Ambassador which was titled 'NOTICE' and it reads 'The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Athens, wishes to inform all members of the Nigerian Communities in Greece, that the issuance of Machine Readable Passports (MRP Passports) is due to commence. Nigerian nationals in Greece who are in an immediate need of a passport must contact theEmbassy as soon as possible'. The notice further reads, 'Please note that passports being issued would expire on 31st December, 2010. Application fee for the MRP Passport is 160.00 Euro only'.

This is the View of the Machine Readable Passports (MRP Passports)


For the benefits of those whom might not be familiar or have fall victim of Nigeria Travelling Document Identity Stories and calamity, I will touch some issues about the Nigeria's Passport in Greece and the Historical conduct of the Embassy of Nigeria in Athens towards the issuance of this indispensable/essential travelling document. Sometime in early 1990 and late 1990, the representatives of the Nigerian Community Greece usually go to our Nigeria Embassy in Rome-Italy to secure passport for Nigerians then living in Greece who is in need of passport but before they (Community) started going for that, the Nigeria Embassy in Roma, Italy use to attend to Nigerians in Greece by sending their staff from time to time to Greece for the issuing of Nigeria Passport according to Mr. Patrick Ude the Ex-Chairman of the community, during this time, all Nigeria Passport issue in Rome was never Mark fake or been refered to as Proxy Passport in an way by the Greek authority.


After so many Years of Nigeria Embassy absence from Greece, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria decided to restated the mission back in Greece which means for the Nigerians in Greece, cost of going to Rome-Italy by the representatives of the Nigerian community just for securing International Passport issuance is over, the other good news accompany the establishment of the Embassy in Athens in the mind of Nigerians is that, the time frame for Nigerians to have their passport issue will be immediate or having it one less then two days but all those glee and notions was just an imaginary tale since theEmbassy started her operation in Athens Greece.

H/E Prof. Sunday O. Agbi (Formal Nigerian Ambassador to Greece)

The Embassy announced during the tenure of H/E Prof. Sunday O. Agbi the introduction and commencement of the E-Passport in Greece but Not even One(1) copy of the the said E-passport was issue during his tenure as the Nigerian Ambassador to Greece rather, it was noted that most of the  Machine Readable Passports (MRP) that was issued to Nigerians during the stated period have one or more problem at each country border and the Greek Residence Permit Issuing Office, this leads to so many Nigerians in Greece losing their right for residence permit, while others was deported back to Nigeria from other European State on their return or re-entry from Visit  to Nigeria, also, other groups of Nigerians end-up in weeks and months in the jail, paying for the mistake the Embassy made on our National Identity (why I refer it as National Identity is that Nigeria has no other Identification prove apart from the International Passport).

This is the View of the  E-Passport (New)


The Identification travelling document the than administrative of the Embassy issued to Nigerians which I 'd always refer to as 'Permit to Confinement' cost Nigerians in Greece the sums of 590.00 Euro to 630.00 Euro Per-Passport while inNigerian at that same period cost the sum of less than 100.00 USD, also the Immigration's Staff in Nigeria were issuing Proxy Passport to Citizens abroad who send money home for them to have their passport issue and posted to them, the reasons for such decision by Nigerians was the Pricing at that time and we the citizens (Nigerians) chooses to live with such pain until his tenure was over. Why don't you shout out for the world to hear you and where is the Nigerian Community that use to go to Roma-Italy on matters that affect Nigeirans in Greece?


Howbeit,Nigerians had be known for not standing up for the right, most of us here in Greece today, left Nigeria just for one single reason, and that is 'Bad Leadership and Corrupt Government' back home which 'd turn our National'sEconomy to self-enrichment resources Center of the so called leaders. Despite all this, we have also not make the grade to know, identify and understand the tricks invented by the same called leaders back home to send some of their representatives among good ones to us in abroad to continue the exploitation of her citizens (Nigeria leaders, there are NO Natural Oil and Gas that belong to Nigeria in Greece we are self reliance people, we make our living out of our hard works).


 His Excellency Dr. Etim A. Uye (Still on duty in Athens Greece)


All things been equal, the arrival of His Excellency Dr. Etim A. Uye, Nigerian Ambassador to Greece (still on duty) in 2008 was a beginning of a new day that comes into the life of Nigerians in Greece. In his address to Nigerians in Greece on the occasion of the 48th Independence Anniversary Prayer service for the nation on 28th September, 2008, at CPM Church, 41 Sofokeleos Street Omonia Athens, he promise Nigerians that, the service cost charge of Nigeria Passport will be in line with the Federal Government services cost policy and that he will try to see that passport issuance is never a major problem to Nigerians in Greece any more but his promise has not observe any actions up to date rather Nigerians in Greece are been faced with the same situation of delays but never in cost/pricing not until this recent Publication/Notice by the Embassy stating the price of MRP to be 160.00 Euro while Nigerians who apply via online for the E-passport are paying the services cost of $110.00 USD,calculated into Euro will give us the sum of about 80.00 Euro .


It is true that the present Nigerian Ambassador to Greece did try to bring the service cost of passport back to the actual services cost charge by the Federal Government all this while but what I don't understand  and where I want all readers of this topic to stay put are the following;


·        Do you think His Excellency Dr. Etim A. Uye you know on the day he addresses Nigerians go back against his words and promises; or is it a way of trying to generate some amount of Euros (Revenue) in order to celebrate  the 49th Nigeria Independence day or dose this have any connection with the present economical crisis? To my understanding, it sound much like a way of recovery from the financial predicamenton the world is facing because of the date of Passport expiration, be as it may and at such condition, Nigerians in abroad should not save as bail-out proceed to the Federal government.

·        Why should the Nigeria Embassy in Greece will not be install the E-Passport issuance Machine before now but some nearby country like Spain have the E-Passport Machine where our people now been referred to in other for them to have their passport issue.

·        With the above publication saying ?'Nigerian nationals in Greece who are in immediate need of a passport'...,  I feel that every Nigerians requesting for Passport are in an immediate need of this document and I don?t thinking issue one year Passport to them will solve the problem, beside, since when the Federal Government starts issuing Passport for a duration of One (1)years. Nigeria Passport is Not an ID Cards, please save us from further embarassment from our host countries and their police.

·        Will the money citizen's pay in applying for MRP Passport now that will expires on 31 December, 2010 covers for the issuance of the E-Passport at the expiration date. (as I can see, the cost for the MRP is twice up of the cost of the E-Passport)

·        To those of us Nigerians who did apply for the E-passport application via online, made our payment online are also in an immediate need of Passport, how do we intend to go about our money that is already with the government of Nigeria since the policy of our government on the payment of the E-passport is almost something near 'NO REFUND' (Please Note, they (FG) are about collecting double or if not threefold payment indirectly from you for the MRP) and why can't one transfer E-passport's payment made to one office in order to have his / her passport issue in other immigration office or location? it the Nigeria Immigration Two (2) or is the immigration account different from the Fedreal government account.

·        I did learn by heart, that the Embassy hosted some Immigration's Staff from Nigerian who came  to collect data and E-Passport Biometrics information of Nigerians who already apply for the E-passport and until date, Some of those Nigerians are yet to receive their E-Passport. I think the cost of Air Tickets, Hotel, Security, Transportation to come to Greece just to collect data of citizens is near enough the cost of having the Machine install in Embassy here in Athens.


For the interest of the general public, Nigerians in Greece and to save Nigeria name from further abuse, I think the recent move by the Nigeria Embassy to start reissuing the Machine Readable Passport (MRP) to Nigerians in Greece after having the E-passport presented to the host government offices by some Nigerians who already have theirs should not be acceptable by Nigerians. It is the Embassy's responsibility to have the E-Passport Machine install in Greece not to try to withdrawn from there responsibilities, Nigerians in Greece are intelligent enough to know what we want and when we want it. If they (theGovernment representatives in Greece, the Ministry of Internal, and External/foreign  Affairs ) are not going to make sure that we have this Machine here, then this is completely encouragement for Nigerians to start requesting for proxy passports from home again, which will then out stamp the government intention on the E-passport that has been introduced to help fight fraud and forgery.


Fellow Nigerians, the issue of issuance of Nigeria Passport only affects us with 'Standard Passport', they (the Embassy staffer and government office holds are all with their own Travelling document and they can not feel with we are felling, the Immigration delays and embarrassment never happens to them and their family members. Should we keep quite allowing our leaders with such I-Don't-Care Behavior? They are to hand round/hand out us and act in response to our request and demands. Their daily incomes come from the wealth that belongs to you and I while you straggle ON YOU OWN  (OYO) to have you personal daily income by yourselves. I call on Nigerians to please speak withone voice in order to save ourselves and Nigeria name from the hands of those I-Don't-Care leaders among the good ones in our government, Nigeria and those driving force that are with us in Europe. Nigeria is for Nigerians and not for only those that install themselves into office.


Posted By:

MKT in Athens-Greece

 www.emsgr.org