By Mike Mbonye
Johannesburg – Nigeria`s Consul General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the Bank Verification Number (BVN) exercise for Nigerians in the Diaspora to Dec. 31.

Ajulu-Okeke made the plea when she visited a centre set up by Online Integrated Solution Services (OIS), a consultancy firm that processes visa applications and conducts BVN registration for Nigerians in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“ We want to appeal to the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the BVN exercise to Dec. 31 this year to enable Nigerians living in the Diaspora to be captured.

“ The registration centre in Johannesburg is for the nine countries in the Southern African region.

“ Some Nigerians have travelled 2,000 kilometres from countries in the region to be captured.

“ What is happening here is to inform Nigerians in the SADEC Region that the exercise is on and they should come and be registered,“ she said.

Ajulu-Okeke, who said the countries in the region had high population of Nigerians, appealed to the apex bank to extend the exercise.

The consul general also commended the Nigeria Immigration Service for improved service delivery in passport renewal and visa processing.

The Centre Manager of OIS, Mr Jamil Shittu, said 158 Nigerians had been registered in the BVN exercise.

He said Nigerians in the Diaspora, especially from Burundi, had called to ascertain if they could come to South Africa for the registration exercise.

Shittu said the centre also processes visa applications and forwards them to the Nigerian Mission for visa issuance.

“ We believe in providing first class service to everybody. We want the applicants to have good impression about Nigeria,“ he said.

The Secretary of Nigeria Union in South Africa, Mr Adetola Olubajo, said the OIS centre had made visa processing and passport renewal easy.

He pledged that the union would assist OIS in ensuring that it succeeded in its assignment.

Mr Trust Owoyele, Vice Chairman of Gauteng Province of the union, commended the consul general for promptly assisting Nigerians in South Africa to solve their challenges.

He said the union in the province would mobilise Nigerians to access facilities at the centre.

“ The union has been informing Nigerians to use the centre to process their passport renewal and for BVN registration,“ he said.

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