Deportation Threat – NIS Renews 250 Passports For Nigerians In Kuwait
Mr Idris, while reacting to the delay, blamed it on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said 250 passports meant for Nigerians living in Kuwait have been handed over to the ministry of foreign affairs for onward delivery to the applicants.
It said work is still ongoing on about 50 others and that they will soon be released to the applicants.
The NIS comptroller general, Isa Idris, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES exclusively on the matter during the week, was reacting to the cry of Nigerians in that country over the delay being experienced in accessing their passports.
Daily Trust had on November 2 reported the frustration of the affected applicants who said they risk being deported over their inability to renew their residence permits.
Mr Idris, while reacting to the development, blamed it on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said many missions have had difficulty in coordinating the passport requests from Nigerians due to the pandemic-induced lockdown in various countries.
“But let me confirm to you that 250 passports belonging to Nigerians residing in Kuwait have been produced and sent to Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for onward transmission to the Nigerian Embassy in Kuwait as far back as November 3.
“The remaining balance of about 50 were completed two days after.”
He said NIS is committed to addressing all the challenges being faced by Nigerians both home and abroad over their quest for passports.
“Passports are what represent national identity. Certain integrity tests must be carried out to ensure the sanctity of the documents. COVID-19 really dealt a great blow to so many things globally but we are gradually getting out of the woods. Under our watch, the best will be achieved in the interest of this nation,” he added.
The affected Nigerians had cried out calling on Nigerian authorities to come to their aid to avoid being deported.
The cry became necessary following the need for the renewal of their residence permits which they said the Kuwait authorities would not grant for passports with less than one year validity.
Some of the residents who spoke with Daily Trust said their means of livelihood had been at risk and that affected students among them could also face similar treatment.
“At the moment, we have about 600 Nigerians in Kuwait who are at the risk of being deported with their families. All for no fault of theirs,” an unidenified source had told the newspaper.
“So, Nigerians here haven’t been able to seek other alternatives. Residencies here are only renewed if passports have at least one year validity. Most people’s passports are already expired or less than a year, so, effectively they are without valid residencies. Meaning they could be accosted by security officers and deported as illegals,” the source added.
The sources, however, disclosed that the NIS sent an official to Kuwait in July to hasten the process.
Daily Trust reported that the consular officer at the Nigerian embassy in Kuwait, Muhammed Ahmed, said the embassy has been trying to help affected persons.
He added that the affected Nigerians who had been visiting the embassy are being assisted with necessary cover notes until their passports are ready.
– Premium Times