Nigerians in Spain, Portugal and Italy have cried out over poor treatment and extortion they are subjected to by personnel of the Nigerian Embassy in those countries.
SaharaReporters had a couple of weeks ago reported how a visibly angry Nigerian stormed the Nigerian Embassy in London damaging cars due to frustration from renewing his passport.
Nigerians in the Diaspora have been decrying the unresponsiveness and insensitivity of the government.
They also lamented the gross dereliction of duty by the Nigerian ambassador to the countries.
A daily visit to Nigerian embassy in Madrid would make one experience first hand how Nigerians who wish to renew their traveling documents.
One of the victims, Abiola Sulaimon Yusuf said he visited the embassy in Spain to validate his license after his relocation from Brazil to Portugal.
Abiola, who is the Financial Secretary of the Nigerian community in Paraná - Brazil (Comunidade Nigeriana no Estado do Paraná Brasil), narrated how a staff at the embassy had continued to extend his date of renewal and collection of passport because he was unwilling to part with some money.
He said, “I went to Madrid to on 22/05/2019 to renew my passport, after finishing the process the date appeared on collection is on 29/05/2019, but the woman that attended to me, who I don’t know her name, cancelled it and wrote 02/10/2019 because I refused to give her a bribe.
“I have spent almost €400 because of this passport. I went to the Nigerian Embassy in Lisbon twice just to collect a letter that I will take to Madrid, which I spent €100 each, and also spent almost €200 for going to Madrid, I paid €21 for sending my passport once it is ready which was collected by the same woman at the Madrid embassy.
“My old passport and letter were collected. Now I can’t move freely or travel back to Spain to facilitate getting it. I read the recent incident that happened in the UK. I don’t want my case turning to a violent one.”
He added that the staff who represent Nigeria at the embassy are tarnishing the image of the country, stressing that they are working to ensure Nigerians in the Diaspora “go through hell and difficult moments from our own embassy.”
Another victim of the exploitation who identified himself as Ola Yinka expressed his dissatisfaction at the inhuman treatment Nigerians who seek service of the embassies are subjected to.
He said, “I live in Lisbon Portugal. The Nigerian Embassy in Madrid, Spain treat Nigerians just like animals and they really don’t care about us.
“All they do is ask for is bribe. If you want something to be done, you need to pay extra money as bribe, if not, one will be treated like they are nothing.
“This is just too much, they are useless and don’t do what they are appointed to do.”
Another frustrated Nigerian said he had sent an email to the Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters in Abuja but did not get any reply from the agency.
“For more than five days, I have sent an email lodging complain to the immigration in Nigeria but they did not reply. This made us believe that the country do not care about us and what we face outside the country,” he lamented.
It was also gathered that staff of the embassy in Spain liaise with touts who request more money to fast-track passport renewal.
“Inside the embassy, there are some people who approach Nigerians that want to renew their passports and tell them to pay money if they want to collect it on time. The staff at the embassy know these people and also have agent within them that they work with.”
“They have stickers and fliers inside the embassy in Spain. This is a way of exploiting the people and it is sad because we should not be subjected to this kind of maltreatment,” a Nigerian who did not want to be named said.
They demanded that the Nigerian government and relevant authorities look into the matter.
Abiola said, “I want Muhammed Babandede, MFR (Comptroller-General Immigration Service - CGIS), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission and President Muhammadu Buhari, (GCFR) to look into my matter. I know there are many more people who also go from other countries from Europe to Madrid with same encounter as mine.”
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Diaspora Commission, when contacted promised to look into the matter and find out what is going on.
She told SaharaReporters: "I will forward to our embassy in Spain and find out what is going on. However, it would help if you give specific names and complaints. Let them send a formal complaint.
"And let’s know their names and exactly what happened. Such cases cannot be treated anonymously."