The Nigerian High Commission in Atlanta Georgia has become a Cesspool of Corruption as some Nigerians who traveled to Atlanta from Houston for their Nigerian international passport-renewal walk out with horrible stories of bribery, extortion, and massive corruption. One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in, and this has become a routine. Here’s is a victim’s nightmarish experience:
So we got to the Nigerian Consulate at exactly 9am this morning, the first thing my daughters said was why are there so many people lining up at the gate. My wife responded that; this is Nigeria, you are welcome (Even for me it was awkward too, the last time I saw a queue outside was at the clubs at night). The first thing I noticed from the last time I was there was the gate blocking the parking lots, I soon found out that we now have to pay $20.00 for parking (Supposedly charged by the owner of the next building to the Consulate). After parking, we wrote down our names, there were already almost 50 names written down, meaning several people had arrived at the Consulate hours before it opened at 9am, I can understand this as most of the visitors were from out of state.
A few minutes later a lady from the Consulate addressed the crowd from across the gate, telling everyone what to expect and helped answer some questions. Then they started calling the names (But not in the order that they were written down). I already told myself I wouldn’t get upset no matter what, because I had my family with me.
I thought we got everything we needed until my wife soon told me we did not have the $130.00 for each applicant and that our self-addressed envelope had no stamp, I was deflated. I was hoping we would just get there, go in, wait and do our bio and leave… Nah.
One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in
I went to the business center in the next building and to my surprise, it was like Nigeria all over again. This guy does not only charge $20 for parking, he already bought several dozens of Money orders (130.00 each) and resale them for $140.00 each, I don’t blame him for that, that is business. However, I blame him for selling the USPS priority mail envelopes for $35.00 each… In case you don’t know, the USPS envelopes are free at the post office. So this guy go to the post office and pack stacks of free envelopes and he cannot sell them for $5.00 each but instead, he is selling a free United States property for $35.00, because he knows that the majority of the applicants travelled from out of state and most of them have to return the same day or the next with little to no time to waste. Nigerians!!!!! I am not sure that is not even a criminal offense… I am going to look into that though, so stay tuned.
I walked out and I went to the nearest post office and bought my own Money Order, I already have some free envelopes and when I asked for stamps, the guy said they were sold out! I went to the second nearest post office, their stamps were sold out too!!! How can this happen in America! It cannot be a coincidence that the two nearest post offices to the Nigerian Consulate are out of stamps by 10am on a Tuesday. I have never heard of a US post office running out of stamps in all my life living in the US.
I had to log into my postal account to download a label and print at a UPS store.
Finally it was our turn, I presented our documents and money order, I asked the lady what should we addressed the MO’s to, and she said don’t worry, leave it blank. I was like WHAT?? She said yes leave it blank, she even wanted to take the money order without me detaching the stubs, to which I refused and stated that I can have her take the MO without me filling out the info, but I will need to keep the stubs as those are my receipts of purchase.
She agreed and added them to what she already had inside a large envelope filled with unsigned MO’s…
Why must we always create a gap for corruption? Can we ever do anything without kickbacks? What kind of people are we, that take pride in making it’s own suffer? Is Nigerian government not paying these people? How is the government able to track how many MO’s are presented daily and who submitted which ones? Why can we not have applicants mail in their passports and schedule them for a bio appointment? Why do we always have to leave a loophole for corruption?
Though we are a Nation that have institutionalized corruption in every area of our lives, one would think that our culture of corruption will stop at the borders of Nigeria, but no. There are Embassies and Consulates of other African Nations across the world, we don’t see or hear so much issues with their citizens like that of Nigerians in diaspora. These people were appointed to look out for and protect our interests, but they turned around and are milking us dry, taking pride in being oppressors because someone nominated them for the position and they think they are bigger and better than their subjects. The whole bio process did not even take more than 15 minutes once you are called inside, but because of the many artificial roadblocks and challenges implemented to syphon money from applicants, it took us almost 6hrs.
I will not be surprised if the folks in the Consulate get some type of kickbacks from the parking fees charged by the business center beside them.
They wouldn’t even wipe down the finger printing machine after every use as directed by the CDC, subjecting everyone to potential Covid-19 infection.
Though this is something we all don’t like to talk about, like it is not our problem, as a Nigerian-American I am deeply concerned about issues like these. I strive daily to leave a better impression of myself as a Nigerian everywhere I go and with whomever I have any form of relationship with. To see the gatekeepers of Nigeria acting with such impunity in broad daylight is so disheartening.
What really is wrong with Nigeria?
By Foli Adewojo.
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