Nigerians Ask FG to Renovate Consular Pavilion in US

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Omolabake Fasogbon

Nigerians living in the United States of America have asked the federal government to consider the renovation and expansion of the consular waiting area to improve the experience of applicants.

At an interactive session with the new Consul General, Amina Smaila in Atlanta recently, they urged the federal government to look into the request urgently in order to provide safe space for visitors, especially with the new realities of COVID-19.

They expressed concern about the collapse of the tent outside the consulate building being used as an extension of the waiting area.

They noted that the collapsed tent had caused “a lot of discomfort for applicants who usually wait outside, thus exposing to cold especially during extreme cold winter season.”

They also demanded an upgrade of equipment to aid excellent service delivery in the consulate.

Also at the interactive session, one of the guests, Francis Agbowa challenged the federal government to see to other challenges affecting the image of the commission in the global society.

He identified some of the challenges as delayed visa applications and racketeering, amid other unprofessional treatments.

He said: “Over the years, Nigerians living in the diaspora are always in the news complaining vehemently about Nigerian consulates abroad most especially in the United States of America.

“Complaints such as shabby and unprofessional treatment laced with racketeering they face on appointments for visa applications or passport renewal have been at the forefront.”

He commended the new management of the consulate led by Smaila for initiating steps towards improved activities in the consulate.

He asserted that the new leadership of the commission was committed to turn the tide, with the result already manifesting from the testimonies of applicants.

In his own comment, another guest at the consulate, Funke Arowolo corroborated Akin’s submission.

She said: “it used to be a very tough and indescribable experience. You can imagine we travel miles for renewal of passport and visa application only to leave disappointed and at times, wait tirelessly without result.

“It is that worst that there had been cases of physical confrontations between applicants and officials. We hope the changes we are beginning to see lately will be improved on and sustained”.

A thorough bred professional and well read, Smaila boasts an intimidating resume supported with her elitist background.

Within the short time of assuming duty, she has been able to strengthen business ties between Nigeria and the United States by exploring partnerships to engage both communities.