By Bennett Oghifo
The United States Consulate General in Lagos has unveiled its newly expanded and renovated consular pavilion that seeks to improve the experience that visa applicants and American citizens in Nigeria receive.
Speaking during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo noted that the renovated consular pavilion will provide a new safe space for visa applicants to socially distance while waiting for their appointment, according to a statement by the Consulate.
She said the Consulate is working hard to reschedule the visa applicants that were affected by the pandemic, adding that the new consular pavilion will go a long way in helping to achieve this goal.
“For most Nigerians and U.S. citizens in Nigeria, their main interaction with the U.S. Consulate is through our consular section. The consular customer experience is something we continuously improve on. This new pavilion is an example of that effort. From the pavilion to the interview, we want our customers to have a positive experience,” Consul General Pierangelo said.
In her remarks, Consular Chief Liliane Hudspeth explained that the new consular pavilion offers visitors a larger, more comfortable covered waiting area, protection from sun, rain, and inclement weather as well as a great view of the Lagos lagoon.
She added that the consular section has introduced a range of measures to meet the increased expectation of safety. “We have put in place safety measures that not only protect our visa applicants but also consular staff who serve those applicants,” Consular Chief Hudspeth said.
Management Officer William Bridgeland lauded the cooperation between the U.S. Consulate Facility Maintenance team and the local Nigerian construction contractor. “Over the past six months, our team and the Nigerian contractor have worked tirelessly to construct this comfortable waiting area. We thank them for a job well done,” Bridgeland added.
The U.S. Consulate General Lagos is one of the busiest consular sections in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Consulate General Lagos received an average of 1,000 visa and American Citizen Services customers per day.