By Vera Samuel Anyagafu
Ingo Herbert is the Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria.
In this interview with Vera Samuel Anyagafu, the CG pointed out challenges on verification of Nigerian document and why it is a big challenge for the Consulate and much more.
Does your mission have any challenge on verification of Nigerian Documents?
Yes we do, as for many documents there is no centralized or structured institutional process in place in Nigeria. Furthermore, the rate of document fraud in Nigeria is very high.
In matters of visa processing, what is verification and what is legalization?
“As just mentioned, because of the lack of a central registry or similar institutions, we do not practice any legalization of Nigerian certificates according to international standards and law; unfortunately, this is not only the case with Nigeria, but with many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.”
Would you please update Nigerians on the states under the Lagos mission jurisdiction? And if by chance an applicant sends application to a mission not in charge, what are the processes required to correct such mistake?
Regarding visa to Germany – whether Schengen or long term visa – the German Consulate General in Lagos is responsible for all Nigerian States. For other consular issues (such as for example passport issuance etc.) the Consulate General covers only 16 Federal states in the South-West, South-South and South-East, for the rest of the country the consular section of the German Embassy in Abuja is the proper address; for more details please go to www.nigeria.diplo.de
If we are not in charge, we would not accept the application right away and inform the applicant where to apply.
How would an applicant change, cancel an appointment or make an expedited appointment at both the Abuja and Lagos German missions?
There is a link in the system where you can delete your appointment and then book a new appointment. It is important to keep in mind that the issuance of a Schengen visa can take up to 10 days because of the internal Schengen countries’ consultation process. This is a highly sophisticated, automated process and it cannot be expedited, not even if we requested for it.
Would you please describe a time you dealt with a difficult situation and what you did to remedy the situation?
So far I am glad we could nearly always find a way to render a proper service and make things possible in special circumstances; however, we are not God, we are bound by the rule of law (laws, regulations, processes) and not in all cases the decision lies in the discretion of the Consulate General; i.e. for long term visa we have to wait for the approval of the relevant local authorities in Germany.
As the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria, what core values have supported your mission to be trusted in delivering fair consular services and or assistance to both Germans and Nigerians?
We try to render a good and customer-friendly service in time, under no circumstances do we accept discrimination and undue procedures; furthermore we are constantly reflecting whether our procedures could be improved. For example, we are looking into further possibilities on how to make the waiting time for the clients as short as possible – I admit we did not always manage to find a perfect solution for all challenges, but we are working on it.
Does the consulate assist in matters relating to inheritance and administration of estates in Germany?
In principle the answer is: no, we just issue certificates of inheritance. As we cannot check public registers in Germany here in Lagos, we have to refer our clients to German authorities like a notary in this regard.