NIGERIA’S high commission in the UK has introduced the use of Point of Sale (POS) machines on its premises as part of a radical upgrade designed to ameliorate the problems applicants face then they visit the mission to renew their passports.
Introduced as part of several changes suggested by community leaders in the UK who presented a white paper to the high commission, the change ends the use of postal orders to pay passport fees. These changes were suggested after a Nigerian Ewohime Apkovweta smashed up seven cars on June 17 this when his passport was not ready for collection at the mission.
In an unprecedented development, Mr Apkovweta, 32 smashed the windscreens of seven cars outside the Nigerian high commission in central London. He appeared incensed at not being given his passport and on a fit of rage damaged five vehicles belonging to the mission and two belonging to private individuals that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Put together by 42 community leaders representing the Nigerian associations in the UK, the 40-page document was presented to the government by the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk) and the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (Nido) UK. It was received in behalf of the government by the high commissioner to the UK Justice George Oguntade and Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chair of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission.
Acting on the recommendations, the high commission has introduced PoS machines for all services it renders. Henceforth, payments can be made using debit cards for all transactions such as loss of passports, fast track applications, emergency travel certificates (ETC) and the authentication of documents with effect from September 2.
A high commission spokesman said: “In view of the foregoing, the high commission would no longer accept postal order for all services rendered by Immigration Section. Also, having observed that a major delay in issuance of passport of applicants is caused significantly by the wrong filling of online form by some applicants, we implore applicants to ensure that they fill the online form correctly, maintaining the same order in the arrangement of names – surname, first name and middle names in their current passports.
“In addition, with a view to ease the difficulties being encountered by Nigerians during the process of renewing their passports, especially for applicants coming from outside London, the high commission wishes to inform that applicants are at liberty to leave behind a pre-paid special delivery self-addressed envelope to enable the mission mail back their passport. For applicants with an urgent need to travel before their collection date, such applicants could apply for an ETC or use the fast-track passport service available if they so desire.
“The high commission wishes to assure all of its commitment to ensuring effective service delivery and at the same time to seek the understanding and cooperation of applicants for passports. Applicants are also constantly reminded to use this official facility and desist from using a third party or touts to request for passport on their behalf.