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Nigerians in US seek quick re-opening of San Francisco Consulate

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Nigerians in the West Coast of the United States have appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to speed up actions to re-open the Consulate-General of Nigeria in San Francisco to alleviate their consular challenges.

Speaking at a meeting with the Nigerian Ambassador to the US Uzoma Emenike, the diaspora group lamented the difficulties of travelling to New York, Washington DC and Atlanta for consular services.

Also, the group sought refunds for double payments for passports from Innovate Passport Service, the outsourcing company for Nigerian passports.

However, Emenike advised those affected to apply for refunds through the mission’s website and assured them that the Nigerian government was committed to reopening the San Francisco Consulate to bring consular services closer to the Nigerians resident in the West Coast.

Meanwhile, she noted that there were certain logistics to be considered and procedures to be followed, including obtaining permission from the host country.

Read also: US consulate trains 50 teachers in Lagos

“Honestly, I understand your challenges in having to travel to New York, Washington DC and Atlanta for consular services. We will do our best to see that things change for the better,’’ Emenike said.

Also speaking at the event, the Consul-General in New York, Lot Egopija said the consulate would continue to extend its intervention programme to more states under its jurisdiction.

Also, Egopija said the consulate had successfully carried out an intervention programme in Chicago, urging nationals to commence the process of renewing their passports on time.

“We feel your pains; we will do everything possible to alleviate your pains. Again, we want to appeal to you to apply for renewal of your passport six months to the expiry date to avoid an emergency,’’ he said.

The Nigerian government shut down the San Francisco, California, Consulate in 1989. However, the property is still owned by Nigeria.

Some officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of the National Assembly Committees on Foreign Affairs had visited San Francisco in June for an on-the-spot assessment.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced in July during a Town Hall meeting that plans to re-open the San Francisco mission had reached an advanced stage.

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