Japheth Omojuwa: Who’s got our 20 quid at the Nigerian High Commission in London? (YNaija Frontpage)

They claim the sum is for postal order but nothing gets posted to you because you then have to join a queue, take a train or whatever works for you and still visit the Nigerian House for what was supposed to have been covered by your 20 bucks.

£20 is not a lot of money. It only really takes on an air of importance when you multiply it by a thousand. That way, you get £20,000 which translates to about N5,200,000.

I don’t have an idea of how many requests for the Nigerian passport the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom gets in a month but whatever that number is, the nation’s embassy in the United Kingdom gets to bank £20 from each applicant. They claim the sum is for postal order but nothing gets posted to you because you then have to join a queue, take a train or whatever works for you and still visit the Nigerian House for what was supposed to have been covered by your 20 pounds.

This is apparently not new and it is indeed one of the realities that make the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom one of the worst run embassies or high commissions in the world. The reports and feelers from social media on this reality confirm say as much.

Many Nigerians would rather try to get other passports for their kids or have their kids go elsewhere to access their fundamental human right, rather than subject themselves to the Nigerian High Commission now renowned largely for its incompetence.

A look through the organisation’s website here has a particular line stand out from a page lumped with ill-arranged passport application process. Written in caps as I would like to re-write just to make you appreciate the irony of this reality… THE HIGH COMMISSION IS COMMITTED TO SERVING YOU MUCH BETTER. WE DEEPLY APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND COOPERATION… the only cooperation between Nigerians and the commission as far as I know is that of a system they have come to accept as a disaster they must either bear or ignore.

I don’t expect that a short piece like mine would clean a house that has apparently been dirty for ages but someone somewhere had better know and understand that as long as we cannot deal with small problems like a citizen paying £20 with a promise that his/her passport will be mailed with same amount, only for 100 out 100 citizens who make these payments to go and collect such physically, we will not or may never deal with crimes involving the big time thieves in Abuja and most if not all the State capitals.

Heck, in a nation where a former self-declared enemy of the state, a man who only four years or so ago raised arms against the state yet finds himself on a committee supposedly reserved to help cater for privileged citizens who will be state-sponsored for Hajj… you just know we need help all over the place. How about we start from somewhere? What if a mad citizen decides not to pay the £20 and makes the most embarrassing noise possible? Do we just give up on all these anomalies or do we at least try to correct the ones that directly affect us?

Someone at the Nigerian High Commission in the UK must know exactly what happens to the multiples of £20 that Nigerians are forced to pay for the service that never gets rendered. I hear it is easier to get a corrupt Nigerian politician to go to jail for stealing – they don’t steal, they misappropriate – than it is to get the High Commission to process your passport.

Is someone reading? Can something get done or are we just doomed to always do it the most wrong way it can ever get done? But then, what do we do when we decide to take all the bullsh*t thrown at us under different claims and excuses? In the end, you’d find that, no matter what we think those at the helm deny us of, we are at times guilty of handling our rights to them, sometimes on a platter of £20.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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