…Says Racketeers Duped 18 Applicants Of Between 200 And 350 Pounds
The Nigerian High Commission in London has unveiled new rules for Nigerian Passport applicants in the United Kingdom even as it uncovers gang of passport racketeers that duped applicants of between 200 and 350 pounds each.
It said consequent upon the development, “The Mission has reviewed its activities during this period and acknowledges the need to attend to Nigerians who have urgent reasons to renew their Passports. In this regard, the Mission would resume the Fast-Track Services in line with global best practices.”
In a statement released today, the High Commission in London said “Upon assumption of duties, the High Commissioner, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, held series of strategic meetings, including engaging the immigration section of the Mission, to brainstorm on the best way to address the incessant allegations of corruption and other negative reports on the issuance of the Nigerian passport in London, as well as to restore the Mission’s credibility in the process.”
The statement added: “Following the strategic meetings, on Wednesday 19th May 2021, the High Commission was able to identify and break the gang of passport racketeers in London. The Mission also discovered that 18 innocent Nigerians paid between £200 and £350 to racketeers in their desire to urgently acquire or renew Nigerian passports.
Unfortunately, the racketeers issued them with forged documents with a promise to assist the applicants through a “non-existent Abuja ‘in the mission. The Mission sympathises with the past victims, whilst admonishing our fellow country men and women to always avail themselves with official channels in the Mission for assistance on compassionate grounds and desist from patronizing unofficial agents/touts.”
The Mission recalled that it “commenced processing of passport application on 13th April 2021, following the lifting of the lockdown restrictions by the British government. It said that as of 31st March, 2021, there was a backlog of 18,000 applications awaiting processing, which were accumulated between December 2019 to March 2021.
Officers and staff of the Immigration Section, worked tirelessly to run a crash programme to reduce the backlog. Currently, the Mission has issued a total of 8,852 passports out of 9,964 passports that were captured from the backlog.”