The Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States has been accused of extortion and illegal increment in passport fees.
Nigerians in the United States made the accusations on the consulate and provided proofs in documents made available to News Central.
In the new pricing methods by the Consulate, the processing fees for a Nigerian passport, which was free until now, has been pegged at $30. The fees according to the Nigerians out there has not been charged in five years.
Expedited processing, which has become the easier route to get a passport in good time has also increased to $100 from $65. Nigerians affected by these indiscriminate charges say it may take up to three months before a passport is processed if an expedition fee is not paid.
Buying of Appointments
Nigerians in the U.S. further added that a visit to the consulate now comes with a $100 cost as there is no way to book an appointment on their website.
This indicates that Nigerians have to buy appointments from the Consulate to make necessary bookings for their passports.
These charges have all been effective since the 18th of January, 2021, and have been unavoidable since the consulates in Washington and New York remain closed.
The outgoing Consul General Ambassador, Aishat Musa Aliyu has been accused of masterminding the increments, which according to Nigerians in Atlanta is not going to the coffers of the Nigerian government.
On the average, Nigerians in the United States now have to spend an unofficial $230 including the official charges of the Nigerian government which is $106. For those who reside in the East Coast, they spend an additional $300 on flight costs and those who live on the West Coast spend double that amount.
In total, Nigerians in the US now spend an average of $800-1000 to get their passports at the Consulate in Atlanta.
“This is nothing but sheer EXTORTION of Nigerians in the Diaspora in the U.S.. Nigeria Passport applicants are kept outside of the Atlanta Consulate gate in the cold with no recourse for properly heated shelter or Tent,” a concerned Nigerian in the disapora said.
The Nigerian government and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) are urged to take necessary steps to mitigate against the rising illegality and a further dent to the country’s public image.