A group of Nigerians under the aegis of Nigerians in Diaspora (ND) have condemned the suspension of capturing of biometrics for the new enhanced e-passport by the Nigerian High Commission in London.
The enhanced e-passport operations were launched in London on 23rd November 2021 but the Nigeria High Commission in London had on Sunday suspended biometric capturing for persons interested in applying for the e-passport.
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This was contained in a statement the commission issued, saying the biometrics capturing was suspended after a meeting to deliberate on issues surrounding the assault of staff members.
The enhanced e-passport was to address issues of forgery and improve the application process but in its statement Sunday, the commission noted that its suspension is effective from March 28.
While reacting to the development, the group said it was a wrong signal to many Nigerians particularly those that have had to travel long distances from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, and so on to the Mission in London without positive resolution of their respective consular issues.
The statement signed by one Mrs Ada Liwett, on behalf of the group and released to newsmen Monday in Abuja, recalled the deplorable situation of passport issuance and renewals after the lockdown and the then suspension of operations between December 2019 and April 2021 in a supposed attempt to address the issues responsible for the then anomalous situation.
The group claimed that the compulsory 120 pounds fast track system for passports was the only one working at the Mission.
According to the diaspora group, the continuous physical and verbal assaults of the staff of the Mission arising from the frustration many faces however led to a meeting of the Nigerian Community convened to find a solution to the challenges associated with passport issuance before it deteriorates into avoidable calamities.
“The meeting took place on Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, at the Conference room of the Nigeria High Commission, London.
“Apparently optimistic that the said meeting would yield positive results in finding a lasting solution to the yearnings of Nigerians in the UK, the shock news broke last night that the biometrics capture on the new Enhanced E-Passport at the Nigeria High Commission in London was suspended with effect from Monday, 28th March 2022,” the group lamented.
The group called on the Nigerian government to step in and resolve the situation before it deteriorated.
Daily Trust called the phone number of the spokesman of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Amos Okpu, but he did not pick up the call. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his number.
But a source at the Ministry of Interior told our correspondent that a meeting will be held soon to resolve all issues about passport issuance in the UK.