A Nigerian man has blasted the Nigerian mission over the rate of alleged corruption and racketeering, claiming that his wife paid a €200 bribe (N92,816; CBN rate of €464.08/N1) to collect her passport at the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, the Italian capital.
Making his claim via Twitter on Saturday, the man, identified by his handle simply as @nosafk, claimed that his wife paid to renew her passport and opted for the 64-page booklet, but that there was no readily available appointment date on the embassy’s website.
According to him, there was no appointment date on the website until the year 2080.
He, however, stated that he learnt the embassy issued passports to applicants without an appointment, saying they will have to pay an unofficial amount of money.
The aggrieved man said he decided to try out the unofficial option and that his wife was charged €200 to get her passport. He further alleged that after paying them the money, the embassy officials were not satisfied and wanted him to pay more to facilitate the release of the passport.
NIGERIA EMBASSY ROME
The embassy of Nigeria in Rome is a big shame to Nigerians. Everyone need to know what these stupid people do. After writing this they may never renew my Nigeria passport anymore. I don’t even care if they do, but they need to stop extorting Nigerians. pic.twitter.com/Iu69uukBPB
— Tweeter_Headmaster 🇮🇹🇳🇬⚫⚪ (@nosafk) December 11, 2021
He wrote: “NIGERIA EMBASSY ROME The embassy of Nigeria in Rome is a big shame to Nigerians. Everyone need to know what these stupid people do. After writing this they may never renew my Nigeria passport anymore. I don’t even care if they do, but they need to stop extorting Nigerians.
“My wife needed to renew her Nigerian passport, I paid for 64 pages booklet. I did this because most times if you pay for 32 pages booklet, they will come up with stories like booklet is not available. And use it to delay your passport. The 64 pages cost more than 32 pages.
“Then I went to the embassy website to book the appointment date. There was no appointment. In fact take a look at the screen recorded video. You will notice that there is no appointment now till January 2024. I decided to stop there. There is no appointment even till 2080.
“The wonderful thing is that the embassy keeps issuing passports without appointments. The reason will shock you. To be able to renew your passport you will have to pay an unofficial amount of money. The amount varies from the person helping you to do it.
“In my wife case we paid €200 more to someone there to help us renew the passport. This is just to bribe them to do the passport. Even after paying them $137 they were not satisfied. They still wanted me to bribe them to release the passport.”
He added that the embassy officials collected the phones of Nigeria probably as a measure not to document their alleged illicit activities, while Italians who visited the facility were allowed to hold on to their phones.
He wrote: “Upon entering the embassy, her cellphone was collected from her. She was obligated to submit her cellphone before entering the embassy. What could they be scared of? Someone might video their corrupt activities and leak it? She gave them her cellphone and entered inside.
“One oyinbo came inside the embassy and they didn’t seize her cellphone. My wife saw her flaunting her cellphone inside the embassy. Now why didn’t they do the same to her? Maybe they are scared she might report them to the Italian police.
“And if the Italian police get involved, their intelligence might leak everything. It might complicate the Chancery. Even the way they talk and embarrass citizens is very bad. My wife told me about someone who had difficulty speaking English. Instead of them to help, he was mocked.”
The aggrieved Nigerian man estimated that the embassy could be racketing as much as €7.2 million if it issues 100 passports a day for €200.
He stated although he knows that the repercussion of his protest is that the embassy may not renew his own passport again, he had to speak up for Nigerians, many of which he said, cannot afford such fees.
“If you’re a Nigerian and you believe it is wrong for the Nigerian Embassy to extort your fellow brothers then retweet this as a support to end this extortion. Nigerians deserve better. Passports should be issued without bribe or extra fee.
“Many Nigerians have no jobs and may not be able to afford it. We can’t allow this nonsense. If you don’t pay them you won’t get scanned and won’t get your passport,” he wrote.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was tagged on the thread, are yet to respond to the allegations made.