By Harrison Arubu
The Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, has dismantled the “web of powerful passport racketeers” that had operated around its premises for many years.
Consequently, applicants for Nigerian passports at the consulate can now collect the documents within one week, according to the Consul-General, Mr Godwin Adama.
Addressing newsmen in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Adama said before now the scammers were charging applicants between 400 U.S. dollar (N144,00) and 1,000 dollars (N360,000) without any assurance of getting their passports.
Transcript of the interview was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
“I had a serious running battle with these touts, who attempted to intimidate and blackmail me to the extent of threatening physical assaults, but I stood my ground and disbanded them.
“What it now takes to be a proud owner of Nigerian passport is payment of 100 dollars (N36,000) for adults and 77 dollars (N27,720) for children depending on current local exchange rates.
“And for those who travel from outside Johannesburg, they get their passports within 24 hours, because of the logistics of travelling from long distance.
“I succeeded in a record time to reduce the collection of passport between eight and six months to one week.”
The consul-general disclosed further that the improvement has also been extended to the issuance of visa.
He explained that applicants with genuine documents now receive their visas between 48 and 72 hours in line with the Presidential executive Orders on the ease-of-doing business.
“The premises of the consulate are now free of miscreants who have nothing to do than to be creating chaos and instituting corruption within the system.
“No loiters anymore, and for those who have to stay more than the expected hours due to one logistic issue or the other, a resting place has been provided for them at the gate.
“The room is equipped with conveniences and other facilities for their comfort,” Adama added