The Consul General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, South Africa, Abdul Malik M Ahmed says Nigerians applying for lost passports are criminals.

Ahmed disclosed this in one of the press statements released after he was accused of ‘Diplomatic Extortion’ by Nigerians living in South Africa. 

According to him, those applying for lost passports are criminal elements based on the information he received from the 'grapevine'.

Reacting, the Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) condemned the statement, claiming the allegation is capable of having negative consequences on Nigerians living in the rainbow nation.

A communique made available to SaharaReporters by the President of NUSA, Adetola Olubajo, said, "The CG in one of his press statements wrote that those applying for lost passports are criminal elements based on the information he received from 'grapevine', we consider this a disservice to Nigeria and Nigerians in South Africa. We are still in shock that a top official and representative of Nigerian Government in South Africa can claim that his only method of addressing the issue of crime is to impose a monetary penalty on the people regardless of whether their claim is genuine or not.

“This is a very serious allegation against Nigerians in South Africa that is capable of having negative consequences on our people. At this point in time, it is reasonable to submit that anyone who really wants to have a second passport with the sole aim to engage in crime related activities will just pay the CG the sum of R2000 and the passport will be issued without much ado.

“We have reasons to believe that there is a sinister reason for subjecting Nigerians to high passport fees rather than for reason of dissuasion from crime as claimed by the CG, Mr. Abdulmalik Ahmed. All things being equal, we expect that the Consulate General and the OIS Services individually and collectively have adequate hardware and software for biometric readings among others to detect double issuance of passports to our nationals. With your 'grapevine source' sir, you should be able to provide the law enforcement agents with the information you have because we are not comfortable that the Consul General of Nigeria is sitting with the information that could help the security cluster to nab a cartel of human traffickers.

“Hon. Consul General sir, you claimed in one of your numerous communiqués that passport touts are milking Nigerians yet you are requesting them to pay you a ‘non-refundable bond deposit of R10,000’ for them to be able to operate within the premises of Consulate General. It is obvious that your intention is not to help Nigerians but to further inflict more pains on them by collecting kickbacks from these passport agents. These agents will, in turn, charge Nigerians exorbitant amounts in order to meet up with your demand of R10, 000 'non- refundable deposits'. It is a mirage on your claim sir that you are stopping touts; rather you are strengthening them to further milk Nigerians. We have it in good reports that most of the agents are your friends. We shall name and shame them in good time.”

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