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Automate issuance of passport, national identity card overseas, Reps tell FG

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Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Wednesday tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to fully automate the process of issuance of passports and National Identity Cards across the globe.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Obinna Chidoka who expressed grave concern over various challenges faced by Nigerians in the Diaspora.

While calling for the House intervention, he harped on the need to streamline the services being rendered to Nigerians by the Embassies and Commissions abroad, with a view to reduce the incidences of physical attendance; reduce the waiting period for fresh Passport issuance and for renewals to a maximum of 10 working days or less and ensure that only statutory charges are payable for services through officially designated channels.

In his lead debate, Hon. Chidoka who observed that Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions are the nation’s flagship territories abroad and as such should project the best image of Nigeria’s pride and the best example of the values placed on citizens.

“The House also notes that the Embassies and High Commissions are safe havens for Nigerians in diaspora, whether living abroad or travelling abroad.

“The House further notes the deplorable level of services rendered by Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions 

around the world to Nigerians, particularly those in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA in the area of Passports, National Identity Card issuance, renewals and ancillary services.

“The House is concerned that the treatment meted out on Nigerian citizens abroad by officials of the Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions have not only affected the lives and businesses of the concerned citizens, it has brought shame and disgrace on Nigeria’s image and the psyche of our citizens.

“The House is also concerned also that there have been reported incidents of extortion and fraudulent intimidation by  Embassy and High Commission officials in the past.

“The House is further concerned that unless an urgent measure is taken to put a permanent halt to this trend, the nation’s Embassies and High Commissions will become a terror to the people they were established to serve.

“The House is determined to address this menace and bring succour to Nigerians living or travelling abroad, and to uplift the nation’s national pride knowing that with simple automation most of those embarrassing issues can be resolved,” he stressed.

In the bid to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians living in Diaspora, the lawmakers urged the Federal Ministry of Interior through the Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Identity Management Commission and other relevant Agencies to fully automate the processes.

The lawmakers also urged the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to streamline the activities of the nation’s Embassies and High Commissions towards efficient service delivery to Nigerians abroad.

To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to investigate the allegations and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.

 

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