Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, has announced the closure of its embassy office in the country.
The Mission also said it has suspended special intervention arrangements whereby emergency cases were being handled on discretionary basis.
The commission in a statement titled, ‘Notice On Provision Of Consular Services’ cited “violent mob action” against its workers during application for passport renewal as reason for the closure.
The statement partly reads;
The High Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Canada wishes to inform Nigerian communities in Canada and the general public that the Mission remains closed to the public. The special intervention arrangement whereby emergency cases were being handled on a discretionary basis is hereby suspended.
According to the Commission, the system was set up to help Nigerians who had compelling passport renewal request and wanted to assist them.
The Commissioner however stated;
Our citizens for some reason chose to abuse this system, they would show up at the chancery without an appointment and insist on being attended to even on days when we were not open to the public at all.
It explained that matters came to a halt on Friday, August, 14th when a group showed up at the High Commission and did not let the Embassy staff attend to those who had appointments.
The commission added;
They went as far as holding a female staff member who went to address them, hostage, for over twenty minutes and subjected her to physical abuse.
This kind of conduct is considered unnecessarily hostile and totally unacceptable and no embassy would tolerate conduct that puts the lives of its staff members at risk.
It acknowledged that the closure of the airspace is limiting its ability to bring much-needed passport booklets into the country.
Nigerian High Commission disclosed that it is considering ways to make its premises “more secure and less susceptible to unruly behaviour and violent mob action.”
Nigerians whose work or study permits have expired since March 2020, and who do not have a valid passport, have a grace period that lasts until December 31st.
By this time we expect to have resolved some of the challenging issues that COVID-19 has created.
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