A Nigerian man based in Rome, Italy has alleged that officials of the Nigerian Embassy in the European country extort money from those who want to renew their passports.
In a post via his Twitter account, @Tweeter_Headmaster, he described the embassy as “a big shame to Nigerians”.
Narrating his experience, he stated that embassy officials purposely shift appointments for booking till 2080 to charge an unofficial amount of money from desperate citizens.
He, however, lamented that many Nigerians in the country have no jobs and cannot afford to pay the huge bribes allegedly demanded by embassy officials for passport renewal.
His tweet reads, “After writing this they may never renew my Nigerian passport anymore. I don’t even care if they do, but they need to stop extorting Nigerians.
“My wife needed to renew her Nigerian passport, I paid for 64 pages booklet. I did this because most times if you pay for 32 pages booklet, they will come up with stories like a booklet is not available. And use it to delay your passport. The 64 pages cost more than 32 pages.
“Then I went to the embassy website to book the appointment date. There was no appointment. In fact, take a look at the screen recorded video. You will notice that there is no appointment now till January 2024. I decided to stop there. There is no appointment even till 2080.
“The wonderful thing is that the embassy keeps issuing passports without appointments. The reason will shock you.
“To be able to renew your passport you will have to pay an unofficial amount of money. The amount varies from the person helping you to do it.
“In my wife’s case, we paid €200 more to someone there to help us renew the passport. This is just to bribe them to do the passport. Even after paying them $137, they were not satisfied. They still wanted me to bribe them to release the passport.
“Upon entering the embassy, her cellphone was collected from her. She was obligated to submit her cellphone before entering the embassy. What could they be scared of? Someone might video their corrupt activities and leak it? She gave them her cellphone and entered inside.
“One oyinbo (White person) came inside the embassy and they didn’t seize her cellphone. My wife saw her flaunting her cellphone inside the embassy. Now, why didn’t they do the same to her? Maybe they are scared she might report them to the Italian police.
“And if the Italian police get involved, their intelligence might leak everything. It might complicate the Chancery. Even the way they talk and embarrass citizens is very bad. My wife told me about someone who had difficulty speaking English. Instead of them to help, he was mocked.
“Let’s do the simple Maths and figure-check the business they’re doing at the embassy. Assuming they issue 100 passports a day for €200, that’s €20,000 a day and €600,000 a month for 30 days. This in a year is €7.2 million. In just one year. Na suits dem dey wear.
“That’s a lot of money. This is the business going on at the Nigerian embassy in Rome. Now you know why there is no appointment till 2080. For you to get scanned you have to pay that unofficial amount. And this is nothing but extortion.
“If you’re a Nigerian and you believe it is wrong for the Nigerian Embassy to extort your fellow brothers then retweet this as a support to end this extortion. Nigerians deserve better. Passports should be issued without bribe or extra fee.
“Many Nigerians have no jobs and may not be able to afford it. We can’t allow this nonsense. If you don’t pay them you won’t get scanned and won’t get your passport.
“Just because of their dubious activities I have refused to request the issue of Nigeria passport for my kids. I can’t pay €600 for my two kids and myself. Then pay the official amount of $411. Transport to Rome from where I live for the three of us is like €150.
“That’s approximately €1000 just to get 3 international passports. I need to spend over 500k Naira to get three passports because of the embassy extorting us and @NigeriaMFA is quiet. Shame on you for allowing this.”
SaharaReporters, New York