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NIGERIA HIGH COMMISSION IN CANADA SUSPENDS ACTIVITIES AMIDST CITIZENS’ MASSIVE DEMANDS FOR PASSPORT RENEWAL

The Nigeria high commission in Canada, on Tuesday, August 18, announced an indefinite suspension of activities despite several passport renewal requests from Nigerians in the country.

 

According to the commission, directives from the Federal Government in Nigeria and public health guidelines issued by the province of Ontario informed by the COVID-19 pandemic indicated a need to close the mission to the public and work from home which is how many Government agencies are presently operating.

 

In a statement provided on its website, titled ‘NOTICE ON PROVISION OF CONSULAR SERVICES’ the embassy hinged the decision on the fact that people show up at the chancery without an appointment and insist on being attended to even on days when we were not open to the public at all.

 

The mission said it realized that several Nigerians have compelling passport renewal requests and they wanted to be able to assist such individuals in a responsible manner.

 

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It said it has devised a system in which citizens with emergency cases were being attended to strictly by appointment on designated days of the week, saying ‘this enabled us to admit a limited number of people into the chancery at a time and observe the laid down rules of physical and social distancing.”

 

“On a number of occasions, people seeking passport renewal came to the chancery without an appointment and acted in a most unruly manner, disturbing the peace and acting in an abusive manner, banging windows etc.

 

 

“Matters came to a head-on Friday, August 14, 2020, when a group showed up at the High Commission and refused to allow the embassy staff members to attend to those who had appointments. They insisted that we had to attend to everybody who showed up. They went as far as holding a female staff member who went to address them, hostage, for over twenty minutes and subjected her to physical abuse,” the statement read.


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The commission described the act as an unnecessarily hostile and totally unacceptable one, noting that no embassy would tolerate conduct that puts the lives of its staff members at risk.

 

“We are closing down the embassy and we shall be considering ways to make our premises more secure and less susceptible to unruly behaviour and violent mob action,” it said.

 

It added that it does not have enough passport booklets available, owing to the closure of airspace by many countries including Nigeria, to check the spread of COVID-19.

 

“Our engagement with immigration refugees and citizenship Canada has revealed the following concerning individuals trying to renew work and study permits:

 

a. Applications for renewals should be made online

 

b. At the appropriate time, applicants would be asked to submit appropriate documentation

 

c. If you do not have a valid passport when this happens you may ask for a 90 day grace period which would be granted

 

d. Nigerian citizens whose study or work permits have expired since March 2020 and who do not have a valid passport have a grace period that lasts until December 31st 2020. by this time we expect to have resolved some of the challenging issues that COVID-19 has created,” the statement added.

 

 


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