Ambassador Lot Egopija, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, has conveyed the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing the passport application and renewal process for Nigerians living in the United States and other countries. This assurance came during a hybrid town hall meeting with the Nigerian community in New York and surrounding areas.
Egopija addressed the challenges faced by Nigerians in the U.S. regarding passport renewals, acknowledging the difficulties in traveling long distances to New York for biometrics. The New York Jurisdiction, which he oversees, encompasses 20 states including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, among others. He recognized the inconvenience and risk involved in traveling, sometimes for up to 20 hours, just for passport renewal.
Responding to inquiries about the current need to go to Washington DC for passport production, Egopija noted that the Federal Government is working on advancing the system. The goal is to eliminate the necessity for such lengthy and risky journeys by potentially allowing passport renewals without requiring physical presence at missions for biometrics.
Egopija also discussed the consulate’s relationship with Nigerian associations and provided updates on passport production, emergency travel certificates, and visa issues. He mentioned the creation of a WhatsApp platform for Nigerian association leaders to disseminate information promptly from the consulate to their members.
Additionally, Egopija informed attendees that the consulate-general had temporarily suspended biometrics for passport applicants since November 13, due to server issues. He advised Nigerians to check the consulate’s website for updates before coming for their biometrics.
The Consul-General welcomed suggestions for improving consular services and encouraged the community to utilize the consulate’s website, which includes a Frequently Asked Questions section with valuable information.
The town hall meeting, part of an ongoing series aimed at enhancing communication and relations with the Nigerian diaspora, was hosted by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas, North East Ohio Chapter, and the Nigerian Community, Greater Cleveland. Egopija expressed gratitude for the warm reception in Cleveland and looked forward to continuing these meetings, with the next scheduled for February of the following year.
This initiative by the Nigerian Consulate in New York demonstrates a proactive approach in addressing the diaspora’s concerns and improving consular services, thereby easing the process of passport renewals and strengthening the connection between the Nigerian government and its citizens abroad.