Nigerians resident in Italy yesterday have finally heaved a 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 a 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 weeks.
Speaking on the development made available to newsmen in Benin City, Edo state, a Leader of Nigerian Community in Palermo, Italy and also a welfare aspirant for Nunai, Pastor Mike Oputteh, yesterday in a statement expressed joy that the Nigeria Controller General of Immigration has come to their rescue in addressing shortages of passport booklets.
Oputteh, however appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to abolish what he described as service charges of £30 and £50 being paid for on passports after thumb-printing.
He said the issues of shortages 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 from Nigeria we now called super 3, 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 2 years to replace a missing passport but today in 3 weeks you can get a fresh passport. So, we are very happy that our cry over passport issues is over”.
“Beside, I want to still appeal to the minister of Foreign affairs to please remove or reduce the service charges of €30 and €50 placed on consular services including €30 on passport after thumb printing because Nigerians are complaining bitterly of the hardship in Italy.