The Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, says no fewer than 1,328 passports produced at the mission are yet to be collected.
Egopija told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the passports were among the backlogs cleared, but were yet to be collected by the applicants.
The Nigerian envoy said the clearing of the passport backlogs was in line with the directive of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
He said the backlogs were due to the shutdown of the Consulate from March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic and the skeletal services rendered at the mission following phased resumption of activities.
The Nigerian envoy added that the consulate had also gone for passport intervention in 2019, which production it had not completed before the pandemic.
“You recalled that last year (2020), at the heart of COVID, the Consulate had gone for passport intervention in the past, in 2019 and all that.
“And they have not produced these passports due to one reason or the other but that has been done now; we need to tell those whose biometrics have been done to come and collect their passports.
“Another group of people were those who came into the Consulate and did their biometrics but due to scarcity of some materials, they were not able to get their passports.
“They were not able to get their passports produced as at the time they were asked to come for it; so, these are part of it.
“And in line with the immigration authorities, decision to produce all passports that have been applied for and biometrics taken, we are also cleaning up; all the missions has been told to do same.’’
Egopija said the Consulate was doing everything possible to ensure that passports that had been produced got to the owners.
The envoy said that those living far away from New York should not bother coming to the mission to collect their passports.
“All they (applicants outside New York area) need to do is to send self-addressed envelopes that will tally with the addresses they gave to us when they did those passports in that wise.
“We will get to them but for few that have come in here; we ascertain if they are collecting their passports so that it will not get into wrong hands.
“For those who may not have access to the website, we have also done a WhatsApp group and will also be forwarding it to all the associations that are registered with the mission.
“These associations will in turn inform their members who are affected to come forward for their passports.
“We are trying to ensure that every Nigerian who has applied and has his or her biometrics captured gets his or her passport.
Egopija said the consulate had dedicated an hour daily, from 3 p.m to 4 p.m, for collection of passports so that it would not clock the daily routine in the mission.
He said that the response to collection had been good so far, saying: “We are beginning to receive people coming forward to collect.’’ (NAN)
Your Investments Are Safe In Nigeria, Tinubu Assures Saudi Investors
President Bola Tinubu on Friday assured potential investors that their investments are safe in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Tinubu said Nigeria is ready for business while assuring investors of some of the world’s highest returns on investment.
“I also wish to assure all potential Saudi investors of the safety of their investments based on the sanctity of the rule of law and good returns on their investments in the largest economy in Africa,” the President was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale.
“In this regard, the benefit attached to the early inauguration of the Nigeria-Saudi Business Council can not be over-emphasized. Nigeria, like the Kingdom, is diversifying its economy away from oil dependence to promote sustainable development.
“My administration has undertaken bold economic reforms by removing wasteful subsidies on petroleum and the merging of our foreign exchange market, among other incentives aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”
Tinubu stated that Nigeria is desirous of enhancing collaboration with Saudi Arabia on combating terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, ISWAP, and other violent extremist groups which have been terrorising the Lake Chad and Sahel regions.
He said, “Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed a special relationship at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. Within the past six decades, our bilateral cooperation, which was initially hajj-centric, has witnessed diversification to cover a number of areas of common interest.
“It is delightful to note the presence in this great Kingdom of a large number of our compatriots and professionals, including highly skilled medical practitioners and professional football players.
“As members of several international organizations including the UN, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the International Energy Forum, the G77, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Digital Cooperation Organization among others, our two nations have effectively used these and other platforms to enhance close interaction and coordination.”
The President expressed confidence that the countries’ joint positive disposition within those platforms would continue to be demonstrated “as we seek to advance our mutual interests”.
Further, he thanked the Middle-East nation for the various humanitarian interventions in Nigeria through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.
Speaking on climate change and how it affects Africa, President Tinubu said climate change had led to an expedited rate of desertification and incessant flooding in Nigeria and many other countries of Africa.
He commended the efforts of the Kingdom for its various initiatives to fight the effects of climate change, adding that Nigeria is also working on a number of initiatives to fight the effects of climate change and energy poverty.
Niger coup pressures food markets in West Africa – World Bank
The World Bank says the coup d’état in Niger may put additional pressure on Nigeria and other West African nations’ food markets.
According to the global bank, “The Nigerien coup d’état puts an additional seven million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity in the region against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices, and severe food insecurity already affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season.”
In its September ‘Food Security Update’, the bank stated that the coup d’état in Niger might put additional pressure on West African food markets.
The Washington-based bank stated that food prices increased by up to 21 per cent in August in Niger owing to the economic and financial sanctions the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union imposed on the country.
It noted that as a result, it limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.
It stated that with the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance programme, continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme remains essential, as access restrictions are hindering delivery of aid.
The report observed that FAO expects that shortages of seeds and feed and high fertilizer costs would affect the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season.
According to the Bank, Western and Central Africa were facing persistent food crises, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance in the region rising from around 10.7 million in 2019, 29 million in 2021, to more than 40 million in 2022 and 2023.
The Bank said that between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse.
It added that the main factors affecting food security are civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement, climatic shocks, political instability, adding that the war in Ukraine have increased the volatility of prices for foodstuffs and other commodities and caused widespread inflation as current food prices remain higher than during the same period last year.
Tinubu Meets With Biden, Others At UNGA
President Bola Tinubu is expected to hold bilateral talks as well as some business meetings with the US President, Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The President, who will depart Abuja to attend the UNGA in New Yew on Sunday will also hold talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Lula Silva among other world leaders.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, while briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa Abuja ahead of the president’s departure to New York.
Ngelale explained that that President Tinubu will meet with major Chief Executives and leaders of multinational firms cutting across multiple sectors of the economy including the President of Microsoft company worldwide, Brad Smith to deepen digital transformation in the country.
President is also expected to meet with the President of Global Affairs for Meta Technologies, Sir Nick Clegg, for a conversation on how to leverage new innovations, such as artificial intelligence and certain other applications to impact the way business is done in Nigeria.
He will meet with the global CEO of General Electric, the global CEO of Exxon Mobil Oil and Gas Company among others.
According to Ngelale, the President will be advancing his economic development diplomatic drive to aggressively attract foreign direct investment into the country.
Speaking further, the Presidential spokesman stated that President Tinubu will be participating in the Africa Global Business Initiative, adding that the President is focusing on attracting foreign direct investment, more jobs and new tax revenues into Nigeria.
He also said the President also wants to ensure that homegrown Nigerian companies have fair and equal access to foreign and international markets.
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