By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal Government has denied allegations that the Nigerian Embassy in France is charging an upward of €500 for passport renewal from citizens.
A statement by the Nigerian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ferdinand Nwoye said the fees for passport applications, which is the equivalent of $106 USD, is the same at Nigerian Missions worldwide.
He added that allegedly linking the Embassy of Nigeria in France with passport racketeering is false.
“The Ministry wishes to strongly refute the allegations in the report and state for the records that the Embassy of Nigeria in France is not engaged in such act.
“The Ministry also wishes to emphasise that the allegation that applicants pay between 150-500 Euros for passports that cost 90 Euros is completely false. The fees for passport applications, which is the equivalent of 106 USD, are the same at Nigerian Missions worldwide. The information on the current charges and official procedure for services at the Embassy are well publicised.
“Furthermore, the Embassy’s current online appointment system for applicants seeking passport and consular services was introduced over a year ago to promote transparency, streamline applications and ensure crowd control. In line with current regulations, Nigerians are expected to book for their appointments through this medium and only those with confirmed appointments are attended to.
“The Ministry wishes to inform that the Embassy has not engaged any agent or third party individuals to liaise with Nigerians when seeking appointments for its services and no one is expected to pay any hidden charges for services rendered at the Embassy. Therefore,
“Nigerians in France are advised to avoid dealing with anyone outside the Embassy or engage in any unofficial procedure when applying for passport or any other consular services.
“It is also pertinent to state that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 measures and the surge in the number of applicants who book for appointments, the Embassy currently has online passport applications bookings until the end of March, 2021, which are being treated expeditiously.
“The Ministry assures that the Nigerian Embassy in France will continue to efficiently render its services with professionalism and in line with COVID-19 health regulations,” the statement by the Foreign Ministry spokesman Ferdinand Nwoye said.