OPEN LETTER TO THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT TO ADVISE THE NIGERIAN CONSUL-GENERAL TO SOUTH AFRICA MR. MALIK M. AHMED ABDUL TO STOP EXTORTING STRUGGLING NIGERIANS WITH EXCESSIVE PASSPORT FEES AND PURPOSEFULLY FRUSTRATING THE PASSPORT PROCESS.
By: Olaniyi Thevoice Abodedele
The Nigerian Community in South Africa is calling on, His Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibajo (SAN), The Honorable Minister on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Honorable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Chairperson Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Honorable Abike Dabiri, and the Comptroller General of Immigration Services, Mr. Muhammed Babandede to call to order the Consul General of Nigeria to South Africa, Mr. Malik M. Ahmed Abdul. He should stop the extortion of innocent, struggling, and helpless Nigerians in South Africa.
Don’t embarrass the government is a commonly used phrase by Nigerian government officials when Nigerians stand up for their rights through peaceful protest. Please, do not leave us with no other choice than to mobilize the people in large numbers for protest. We have done it in the past, we can do it, and we will do it again if need be.
The Consul General Mr. Malik M. Ahmed Abdul is insensitive to the realities of economic hardship on Nigerians in South Africa at this present time of Covid-19. While the government of other countries is supporting their citizens, the Nigerian Consul General has imposed a compulsory illegal fee of R120 (N4,200) on all passport applications and R2,000 (N70,000) on all lost or damaged passports. These fees are outside of governments approved fees.
Loss or damage passports is not a crime. The Federal Government, through the Nigeria Immigration Services, has not imposed additional charges on lost passports. The government has listed appropriate procedures to follow and fees to pay for lost passports on the immigration website. Renewal of passport in South Africa has become a case of the highest bidder gets his passport. The process is unimaginable and corrupt.
The Consul General, Mr. Malik M. Ahmed Abdul, officially has endorsed and empowered agents to further enhance his extortion empire by requesting a non-refundable bond of R10,000 (N350,000) from agents.
In return for the non-refundable bond of R10,000, agents will further impose additional fees on struggling Nigerians who find it difficult to survive in this trying period of no jobs and economic hardship.
Honorable Consul General, we are aware of your security intelligence background as a security agent and the antics of divide and rule usually used to divide the people. A situation where you embrace some associations and individuals and pitch them against each other. Your use of force to suppress people’s voices, and those who stand against the corrupt system, will not work. We advise you to unite the community rather than divide us.