The Federal Government has given its justification for the $100 charges and levies imposed on Nigerians in Diaspora at the foreign missions, stating that the charges were for the day-to-day running of operations due to inadequate funds.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; and Controller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, addressed the issue when they both appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Tuesday.
At the two-day investigative hearing organised by the committee, Onyema maintained that the charges had been in place and were only suspended.
Nigerians in the US for instance pay the said sum whenever there was urgent need for biometrics capturing.
The minister said, “The $100 they (Nigerians in the US) said has been added is voluntary; it is just for those who want to have their biometrics done without an appointment. If you wait for your appointment, you will get it (done) and not pay. But if you want it the same day, then pay $100.”
According to Onyema, the foreign affairs ministry is in the process of ensuring that Nigerians in diaspora lodge their complaints through a 24/7 call center in Nigeria.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in her remarks, hammered on the need for communication.
She informed the Committee that NIDCOM would soon have an app where Nigerians in the Diaspora can download, lodge complaints and receive information on the go.
NIS boss, on his part noted that the scarcity of passport booklets was the major challenge facing the Nigerian Immigration Service. Babandede informed the Committe that the 47 offices of the NIS situated across the country was inadequate.