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A day in the life of the Naija Embassy in London

By CIC Old Boy

I was at the Naija Embassy yesterday for my “E-passport” application. I did the online stuff, printed off the documents, was given an appointment date, took everything they asked me to bring to the embassy, etc.

When you get to the door, you are told you have to get a £20 postal order for “administration fee”. I told the guy there that they should have mentioned it on the online application, and he said “it is there, you didn’t look well”, as I went to the Post Office for a postal order.

Back at the embassy, you take a ticket, wait for your number to be called, give them your documents at the counter and then wait. As we were waiting, a northern woman went round the place informing peeps that food is available at the canteen with prices from £5. One guy there said considering the £20 admin fee plus $65 passport fee, they should be providing us with food for free.

I decided to try the canteen. They had jollof rice, pounded yam, tuwo shinkafa, suya, etc. I had the jollof and suya. It was barely OK.

After a wait of about 2 hours, I was asked to go upstairs to another waiting room. I waited here for about another hour before being called into a room for my passport photograph to be taken.

The guy before me was asked to sign his signature that would go on the passport and he said he needed to practise it. The official asked him why he needed to practise his own signature and he said he hadn’t used it for some time. He kept signing different signatures and at one point said he had changed his name because he got married. He then took off his woolly hat for his passport photograph and left it on the floor.

As he left I called him back to pick up his hat. I then sat on the seat to do my business and saw he had also left his glasses on the floor, but he was gone by then. I gave the glasses to the official and he pulled open his desk drawer to show me all the glasses people had left. He said he may start a business selling glasses when he stops working at the embassy.

Before we could start on my application, the man before me came back asking for his glasses. The official then pulled out all the glasses in his drawer and put them on the desk. But our guy couldn’t tell which glasses were his and as he was fumbling around the desk, he knocked over the official’s bottle of Coke. The official got a mop to clean up and while he was doing this, the guy knocked down a plastic cup with Coke on the desk. By this time the entire office was in stitches, with the clumsy guy just apologising and finally picking up his glasses.

When he left the staff couldn’t contain themselves. They suggested he was applying for a passport with a fake name. I joked to the official that the guy could be back again, and he said: “I go run if he come back again because e go mean say dem send am”.

As he took my passport photograph, I asked him why they asked me to bring two recent passport photos when they still had to take my photo. He replied that they needed those two pictures for “special cases”. When I asked which cases were “special”, he didn’t explain and just laughed. I also asked why they charged for a passport application and a separate “administration fee” and he said the application fee went to Nigeria and the adminstration fee was for “us wey dey here”.

Anyway, I finally left the place around 4:30pm and was told to come back in a little over a week to pick up the passport.

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