Union solicits interior ministry’s support for seamless passport processes

The National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy (NUNAI) has solicited the support of the Federal Ministry of Interior for a seamless passport process to its members.

The National President of the union, Mr Rowland Ndukuba, made the appeal on Monday in Abuja, when he led members of NUNAI on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

Ndukuba said that there were about 19,000 regular migrants in Italy, adding if the numbers of those on irregular basis were added the figure would be over 200,000.

According to him, most of these people are being trafficked to Italy, meaning that they are always in huge difficulty getting a Nigerian passport back home.

‘In Italy, if you don’t have a document, you can’t own a house, you can’t go to the hospital, nor can you even send your children to school,’ he said.

He explained that these were the major reasons why they chose to visit the minister for his support to ensure Nigerians in Italy have easy access to Nigerian passports.

‘As you all
know, Italy has a population of about 59 million people, with so many islands and Nigerians are living in these areas.

‘For instance for somebody living in Calabria, which is really outskirt of the capital Rome, where the Nigerian Embassy is situated, to come to the embassy in Rome for capturing, will take him or her some days to do that.

‘And these usually result to serious expenses to the family, and you know, Nigerians in Italy are not as rich as the Nigerians in Canada, U.S. and in the UK.”

All these difficulties, he said, informed their visit to the minister to plead with him for a seamless process to take-off the strenuous burden on them.

‘However, since we came to office in 2021, through the help of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Nigerian Embassy, most of the problems associated with passports have been at least 60 per cent resolved.

‘We owe this thanks to the ministry, and NIS, who did marvelously well to visit more than 40 cities in Italy and captured more than 14,000 Nigerians,
‘he said.

In his response, the minister promised that rather than establishing a passport front office for them in Italy, which was one of their requests, the Federal Government would soon deploy technology to ease passport problems.

‘Latest by the end of May, we are going to deploy cutting-edge technology to ease all the difficulties associated with getting a Nigerian passport.

‘We are going to kick-start the pilot scheme in countries like Canada, Italy, and the UK among others.

‘Therefore, the idea of establishing a front office in Italy cannot be granted because we will in no distant time deploy technology to take care of the difficulties.

‘By that time, people can even at the comfort of their homes do whatever they want to do regarding the Nigerian passport with their cellphones,’ the minister said.

Tunji-Ojo, also refused to grant their request to give those irregular Nigerian migrants in Italy a lifeline on return back to the country.

‘In October 2023, I was in Palermo and this issue was raised i
n a bilateral meeting between myself and the Minister of Interior of Italy, and I told him you people should not even try it.

‘If you do, I will not support it because it will send a bad signal to the upcoming generations,’he added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria