The Nigerian High Commission in London has announced new rules for Nigerian passport applicants in the United Kingdom, as it investigates a gang of passport swindlers who defrauded applicants of between £200 and £350 each.
“The Mission has evaluated its actions during this period and understands the necessity to attend to Nigerians who have urgent reasons to renew their passports,” it said in response to the situation.
“In this case, the Mission would resume Fast-Track Services in accordance with international best practices.
“Upon assumption of responsibilities, the High Commissioner, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, undertook a series of strategic discussions, including engaging the immigration section of the Mission, to brainstorm on the best method to address the constant charges of corruption and other bad reports on the issuing of the Nigerian passport in London,”the High Commission in London said in a statement released today.
“Following the strategic meetings, the High Commission was able to locate and break the gang of passport racketeers in London on Wednesday 19th May 2021. The Mission also learned that 18 unsuspecting Nigerians paid racketeers between £200 and £350 in order to obtain or renew their Nigerian passports urgently. Regrettably, the racketeers provided them with false paperwork and promised to aid them with the task through a “non-existent Abuja.” The Mission sympathizes with the victims of the past, but cautions our countrymen and women to always seek help from the Mission’s legitimate channels for compassionate reasons, rather than patronizing illegitimate agents.”
The Mission stated further that: “we began processing passport applications on April 13, 2021, following the British government’s relaxation of the lockdown limitations.”
According to the report, there was a backlog of 18,000 applications awaiting processing as of March 31, 2021, which had accumulated between December 2019 and March 2021. Officers and staff of the Immigration Section, worked tirelessly to run a crash program to reduce the backlog. Officers and personnel from the Immigration Section worked long and hard to eliminate the backlog through a crash program. Currently, the Mission has issued 8,852 passports out of a total of 9,964 passports taken from the backlog.