- Nigerian residents in Italy will not renew their passports in the next seven decades if the allegations of a Twitter user is anything to go by
- The Twitter user alleged that Nigerian embassy officials in Rome are neck-deep in corruption and give preference to foreigners who wants to visit Nigeria
- He said he paid through the back door to have his wife's expired passport renewed after trying to go through the official channels
A Nigerian man in Rome simply identified as Nosa has cried out over his inability to renew his wife’s passport online.
In a Tweet thread, Nosa alleged that officials of the Nigerian Embassy in the European country extort money from those who want to renew their passports.
Nosa posted via his handle on Twitter, @Tweeter_Headmaster, and said the embassy was “a big shame to Nigerians”.
The Nigerian resident in Italy stated that the embassy officials postpone appointments on purpose for booking till 2080 in order to charge an unofficial amount of money from desperate Nigerians.
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According to the Computer Science graduate, many Nigerians in Italy have no jobs and cannot afford to pay the huge bribes being demanded by embassy officials for passport renewal.
Nosa's tweet reads:
“After writing this they may never renew my Nigerian passport anymore. I don’t even care if they do, but they need to stop extorting Nigerians."
A man's ordeal
He said the officials started playing games with him beginning with the type of passport he wanted to get. He said the officials said that the 32 booklet passports are out of stock just to extort applicants.
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“My wife needed to renew her Nigerian passport, I paid for 64 pages booklet. I did this because most times if you pay for 32 pages booklet, they will come up with stories like a booklet is not available. And use it to delay your passport. The 64 pages cost more than 32 pages.
According to distraught Nosa he went to the embassy website to book an appointment date. There was no appointment, he said. He said the calendar on the website showed that there is no appointment now till January 2024. There is no appointment even till 2080, as per his tweet.
Nosa said despite the information on the website that there is no booking for passport renewal, the embassy keeps issuing passports without appointments.
“To be able to renew your passport you will have to pay an unofficial amount of money. The amount varies from the person helping you to do it."
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He said in order to expedite the process, he had to pay extra 200 Euros in bribes after he had paid the official rate of 137 Euros.
“In my wife’s case, we paid €200 more to someone there to help us renew the passport. This is just to bribe them to do the passport. Even after paying them $137, they were not satisfied. They still wanted me to bribe them to release the passport.
“Upon entering the embassy, her cellphone was collected from her. She was obligated to submit her cellphone before entering the embassy. What could they be scared of? Someone might video their corrupt activities and leak it? She gave them her cellphone and entered inside.
Nosa said that the embassy staff prefers to favour foreigners instead of Nigerians whom the embassy officials should serve more because they represent their interests in Rome.
According to him, the embassy in Rome makes not less than 600 Euros every month calcualted to become 7.2 million annually from kickbacks from those seeking to renew their passports in Rome.
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“Let’s do the simple Maths and figure-check the business they’re doing at the embassy. Assuming they issue 100 passports a day for €200, that’s €20,000 a day and €600,000 a month for 30 days. This in a year is €7.2 million. In just one year. Na suits dem dey wear.
“That’s a lot of money. This is the business going on at the Nigerian embassy in Rome. Now you know why there is no appointment till 2080. For you to get scanned you have to pay that unofficial amount. And this is nothing but extortion.
“If you’re a Nigerian and you believe it is wrong for the Nigerian Embassy to extort your fellow brothers then retweet this as a support to end this extortion. Nigerians deserve better. Passports should be issued without bribes or extra fees."
Nigerians languishing in Italy
He also raised an alarm over the plights of Nigerians in Italy and many of them are jobless yet, the embassy staff choose to extort them..
“Just because of their dubious activities I have refused to request the issue of Nigeria passport for my kids. I can’t pay €600 for my two kids and myself. Then pay the official amount of $411. Transport to Rome from where I live for the three of us is like €150.
“That’s approximately €1000 just to get 3 international passports. I need to spend over 500k Naira to get three passports because of the embassy extorting us and @NigeriaMFA is quiet. Shame on you for allowing this.”
Most powerful passports in the world
Legit.ng reported that the latest release of international passports ranking by Henley Passport Index has put paid to any argument on which countries in Africa have the most powerful passport at the moment.
In the list that featured 199 different passports from various continents and 227 travel destinations, the Giant of Africa, Nigeria, shares 103rd position with Ethiopia.
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According to the list, holders of the Nigerian passport can only visit 45 countries without visas.