Nigerian residents in Italy have finally heaved sigh of relief as the Nigeria Controller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede, has ensured that more passports are made available to Nigerians seeking to obtain passport booklets.
The new development is coming following a viral media report and outcry by members of the National Union of Nigeria Association in Italy, NUNAI, penultimate week.
Speaking on the development, a leader of Nigerian Community in Palermo, Italy, and also a welfare aspirant for NUNAI, Pastor Mike Oputteh, in a statement, expressed joy that the Nigeria Controller General of Immigration has come to their rescue in addressing shortage of passport booklets.
Oputteh, with speaking to newsmen in Benin City, Edo State, appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to abolish what he described as service charges of 30 Euros and 50 Euros being paid for passports after thumb-printing.
He said the issue of shortage began to receive urgent attention when the Immigration CG deployed the trio of Hajiya Laria Mohammed, Mrs. Makcit Dauda and Mr. Ebulum Charles to Rome.
According to Oputteh, “I want to say that prior to now, we have had a backlog of passport shortage over the years but with the coming of officials we call Super 3 from Nigeria the situation has changed drastically.
“We are happy that the CG of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede responded swiftly to our request by deploying men of integrity to Italy led by Hajiya Laria Mohammed and they have put an end to the shortage of passports booklet in Italy.
“Before, it took almost two years to replace a missing passport. But today in three weeks you can get a fresh passport. So, we are very happy that our cry over passport issues is over.”
“Besides, I want to still appeal to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to please remove or reduce the service charges of 30 Euros and 50 Euros placed on consular services including 30 Euros on passport after thumb printing because Nigerians are complaining bitterly of the hardship in Italy.