|Posted on August 24, 2012 at 2:15 AM|
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.