Nigerian community lauds New York Consulate for improved services
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York has been commended for improved consular services to Nigerians and others by the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians.
President of the group, Mr Solomon Bakare, stated this through a statement issued in New York, saying the improved services presented a good example to other Consulates-General and other Nigerian organisations to emulate.
The organisation noted its meeting with Acting Consul-General Tanko Suleiman on how to make the Consulate more “customer-friendly” to those seeking various consular services and better engagement with the Nigerian Community.
The meeting was in connection with the disruption of activities at the Consulate in November 2017 by some Nigerians over alleged poor consular services, a week after Suleiman assumed duty.
“We are happy to report back that since our initial meeting, there has been significant improvement in how Nigerians are treated and serviced by the New York Consulate Office.”
“Specifically, the following improvements have been made: Passports processing is now strictly based on your appointment date. Most customers spend less than two hours for processing time.
“Also, you don’t need to know someone in the Consulate to obtain services as OIS – Online Integrated Solution – has been engaged as agent to process all visa applications.
“There is now priority service to the elderly, handicap and women with infants while reception rooms are comfortable, with light refreshments and televisions.
“Passport processing staff are now professional and respectful to their clients and there is accommodation for those with valid proof of immediate need for passports issuance.
“Members of staff at the reception are more friendly and provide valuable information,” the organisation said.
It said Tanko, who had just assumed office then, at the meeting, pledged to transform the Consulate, laying particular emphasis on the improvement on its delivery of services to Nigerians.
“The Acting Consul-General also pledged to change the perception that you need to know someone in the Consulate in order to obtain prompt and expedited services from the Consulate.
“In the light of this meeting with the new Consul-General, we reached out and appealed to our community to give the Acting Consul-General a chance to implement his ideas and initiatives.”
The organisation said the improved services were the fruits yielded by the collaboration between the New York’s Consulate and OAN to the benefit of the Nigerian community in the Diaspora.
According to OAN, the Consulate has promised that more changes would come in the coming weeks, promising that processing time for passports would be reduced significantly.
OAN said Tanko also promised to meet with Nigerians in their various communities and to embark on consular trips to states and cities within its jurisdiction to provide services.
“OAN’s engagement and collaboration with the Consulate, has yielded positive results, improved customer service and minimise the anxiety and apprehension of Nigerians visiting the Consulate for service.
“OAN’s approach is one worthy of emulation by other Nigerian organisations in the Diaspora.
“While we understand the frustration of Nigerians seeking consular services in the Diaspora, we do not believe that an effective approach to bring about changes is through confrontation and public demonstrations.
“These activities sometimes create a wrong perception among our foreign hosts that we are uncultured and lack the ability to address our differences in a civilised manner,” the organisation said.
OAN appealed to other Nigerian consular officers and Nigerian organisations to take a cue from what OAN and the New York Consulate were able to achieve through dialogue for the benefit of the Nigerian community.