THE Nigeria High Commission in London has suspended biometric capturing for persons interested in applying for the e-passport.
This was contained in a statement the commission issued yesterday, saying the biometrics capture was suspended after a meeting to deliberate on issues surrounding assault of staff members.
The federal government had launched the enhanced e-passport to address issues of forgery and improve the application process.
But in its statement yesterday, the commission noted that suspension is effective from March 28.
“At the launch of Enhanced E-passport operations in London on 23rd November 2021, Nigerians in the United Kingdom were quite optimistic of improvements in service by the Immigration Section, on the issuance of Passports,” the statement reads.
“The issuance, renewal, and operations since the introduction of the new Enhanced E-passport have been fraught with many challenges, particularly on the issuance of National Identification Number (NIN) and the appointments for biometrics capture.
“The Mission feels and shares in the pains of teeming Nigerians since the launching of the new Enhanced E-passport scheme in the United Kingdom by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
“The staff of the High Commission are currently being assaulted on regular basis on account of attendant frustrations, particularly by Nigerians who travel long distances from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, etc., to the Mission in London without positive resolution of their respective consular issues.
“Nigerians with dual citizenship desirable of renewing their British Passports and those seeking the issuance of British Resident Permit (BRP) are also usually on edge because of the inability of the Mission to resolve their legitimate needs and requirements.
“The meeting deliberated extensively on the current challenges associated with the issuance of passports as enumerated above and agreed that drastic actions must be taken to bring succour to Nigerians in the UK. A stitch in time saves nine.
“The leadership of the Nigeria High Commission remains responsive to the needs and welfare of Nigerians in the United Kingdom. Consequently, the biometrics capture on the new Enhanced E-Passport at the Nigeria High Commission in London is hereby suspended with effect from Monday, 28th March 2022, until these challenges are resolved, in the interest of the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom.
“Whilst we regret the inconveniences the suspension may cause, the Emergency Travel Certificate window and visas for British-Nigerians are available as a stop-gap measure.”
In 2020, the commission had suspended passport processing to limit exposure of staff and applicants to the coronavirus.