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Nigeria to reopen its mission in San Francisco in the United States

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Nigeria to reopen its mission in San Francisco in the United States

By Cecilia Ologunagba

Nigeria will soon reopen its Consulate General in San Francisco to provide consular services to the huge population of Nigerians residing on the west coast of the United States.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Gabriel Aduda told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Monday that the plan to reopen the mission had reached “an advanced stage”.

The federal government closed the Consulate in San Francisco, California in 1989. The five-room, 4,250 square foot property is owned by Nigeria.

Aduda said: “We believe that rather than having Nigerians residing in California travel to the east coast or the north coast, they don’t have to travel that far.

“The mission (San Francisco) is very important and in the next few months, before the end of the year, the mission will be operational,” he said.

The permanent secretary said the ministry and members of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committees visited all Nigerian missions in the United States in June for an on-site assessment.

“We visited the Embassy in Washington, DC, the New York Mission, the Atlanta Mission and we made a trip to San Francisco where we hope to reopen another mission that will serve the West Coast,” he said. he declares.

Regarding the state of the facilities in the Nigerian missions, Aduda said there was a need to maintain the facilities as some of them had been around for so long.

“There is a need for an upgrade, there is a need for routine maintenance and overall in terms of service I think we were pretty happy with what we saw in the missions.

“You will see that there are changes in all the missions in the United States, in particular in Atlanta and New York, in terms of service to Nigerians.

“This is because, during the visit, it gave us the opportunity to discuss with mission staff the new direction the federal government is aiming for,” he said.

The permanent secretary said most of the challenges presented by staff were related to immigration and were already being addressed.

Aduda said the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) was fully responsible for producing passports and the shortage of passport booklets was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 slowed down a lot and we had a lot of arrears, so the inability to meet is what created the problem of offering passport service to Nigerians abroad. “

The Permanent Secretary provided Nigerians living in the United States with improved passport issuance services.

He said that with the level of support the ministry was receiving from the NIS, missions would not talk about a shortage of passport books by the end of the year.

The permanent secretary said the Nigerian high commission in London had a backlog of around 19,000 passports but was cleared within three months.

He said another batch of passport booklets had been received at the Nigerian Consulate General in Atlanta, adding that a lot is being done and we hope that before the end of this year we will be on a clean slate.

Aduda commended the Consulate General in New York for providing enhanced passport services to Nigerians under its jurisdiction and for hosting a cultural performance to promote Nigeria’s rich heritage.

The permanent secretary said the consulate adopted cultural diplomacy through spectacle to sell Nigeria’s good image to the world.

The consulate had organized a cultural show on Saturday, on the theme “Nigeria: our community, our cultures and our unity”, to present, among other things, the festivals, dances and fashion of Nigeria.

Aduda, who was present at the event, said the consulate has been promoting Nigerian culture in a way people can embrace.

He said people would get to know the country’s opportunities, benefits and rich resources, adding, “We are going to do more shows.

“We only presented two festivals – the Osun-Osogbo and Argungu fishing festivals – among the various cultural festivals. We hope that this will really attract people to exploit the tourism potential of the country.

“If you watch the Osun-Osogbo festival, you will notice so many foreigners; if you watch Argungu you will see a lot of foreigners, if you watch the Calabar carnivals at the end of the year it is the same.

“In fact, there was a time when we had about 20 different countries attending the Calabar Carnival, so apart from the economic benefit, you would have raised ambassadors who will come back with a good image of the country.” (NOPE)

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