Nigerians resident in Italy on Sunday heaved a sigh of relief as the Nigeria Controller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede, has ensured that more passports were made available to those seeking to obtain passport booklets at the Consulate’s office in Rome.
This was disclosed by the National Union of Nigeria Association in Italy, NUNAI, the umbrella body of Nigerians resident in Italy.
It would be recalled that NUNAI, had on January 27, raised alarm over the dearth of the Nigerian Passport booklets at the Mission, thus making life difficult for Nigerians in that country seeking to update their travel documents.
Speaking on the new development in Benin City, on Sunday, a leader of Nigerian Community in Palermo, Italy, Pastor Mike Oputteh, expressed joy that the Nigeria Controller General, CG, of Immigration had come to their rescue in addressing the issue of shortage of passport booklets.
Oputteh who aspires to be Welfare Officer of for NUNAI, however, appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to abolish what he described as service charges of £30 and £50 being paid for on passports after thumb-printing.
He said the issues of passport shortage began to receive urgent attention when the Immigration CG deployed the trio of Hajiya Laria Mohammed, Mrs Makcit Dauda and Mr Ebulum Charles to Rome.
“I want to say that prior to now, we have had a backlog of passport shortage over the years but with the coming of officials from Nigeria we now called super 3, the situation has changed drastically”, Oputteh enthused.
“We are happy that the CG of Immigration Muhammed Babandede responded swiftly to our request by deploying men of integrity to Italy led by Hajiya Laria Mohammed and they have put an end to the shortage of passports booklet in Italy. Before it took almost two years to replace a missing passport but today in three weeks, you can get a fresh passport. So, we are very happy that our cry over passport issues is over,” he added.
Oputteh however, appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to “please remove or reduce the service charges of €30 and €50 placed on consular services including €30 on the passport after thumb printing because Nigerians are complaining bitterly of the hardship in Italy.”