NIGERIA’S new high commissioner to the UK Chief Sarafadeen Ishola has promised to introduce a new regime at the London mission that will end the current difficulties diasporans face whenever they want to renew or acquire new passports.
By far Nigeria’s largest diplomatic mission anywhere in the world, the London high commission is also the busiest, with thousands of diasporans flocking there on a daily basis for passport issues. There are regular delays with passport issuance, with many Nigerians having to travel from far and wide to London only to be frustrated when they arrive and are told their documents are not ready.
Recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, former mines and steel minister Chief Ishola has held an inspection of the departments at the mission and met with the staff. During the tour, he told the departmental heads that the mission needs to improve upon its delivery of service to paying members of the public.
Chief Ishola said: “Visitors expect the best customer service from us and I am determined to restore the image of the embassy to the highest standard during my tenure. I have observed within my few days here how between 300 and 400 passport applicants queue up from very early in the morning and they all get seen by the close of day.
“There should be no reason why the interactions by our immigration department personnel and those service users should not be a seamless and enjoyable experience. For me that is a good start and it can be improved upon.”
Nuradeen Biu, the head of information, culture and sports at the mission said that the new high commissioner is determined and eager to see that the services of the embassy are providing greater value to our clients. He added that the embassy will focus on some immediate priority areas to deliver excellent services starting from its website, passport renewal and visa applications.
A native of Ogun State, Chief Ishola is also a close ally of the former governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who is one of President Buhari’s closest confidants. Chief Ishola, who hails from Abeokuta was once the secretary to the Ogun State Government and was also a one-time chairman of Abeokuta Local Government Area.
Before joining politics, Alhaji Ishola worked for the Ogun State Broadcasting Service as marketing manager. He replaces Justice George Oguntade who retired last year and has since returned to Nigeria.