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Nigerian born ‘Third Party Touts’, Take Over Passport Exercise In US, Rake In N108 Million In 3 Days

The Oasis Reporters

February 8, 2018

Nigerian style corruption in the issuance of International travel Passports have sneaked into the passport intervention exercise in the United States of America, extorting about 108 million naira in just a three day exercise. And the stakes are high, which the Nigerian community in America has cried out over and have kicked against, in an email being circulated from Prof. Bedford N. Umez of Umez Foundation at Lee College in Texas.

The passport racket works through touts allegedly engaged by some unnamed Consuls General in the US who despite the salaries they collect from the government now extort money illegally from Nigerian citizens, resident in the United States.

Prof. Umez wrote’

Fellow Compatriots,

Good Morning. I write this morning to appeal to the wisdom and the intelligence of the “most educated immigrants in Houston and the United States”, namely, fellow Nigerians. I urge you to kindly read this appeal carefully, patiently and completely.

Once more, I am calling the attention of fellow Nigerians to THE MOST LUCRATIVE UNDERGROUND, COVERT BUSINESS FOR A FEW NIGERIANS in the United States, especially in Houston and Dallas, namely, COLD-BLOODED EXTORTIONS IN THE NAME OF “PASSPORT INTERVENTION EXERCISE” BY SOME CONSUL GENERAL and his “THIRD PARTY TOUTS” as described last week by the Nigeria Immigration Service.

When are we going to STOP some Consular or Consul General and a couple of INDIVIDUALS – his agents – from EXTORTING hundreds of thousands of Dollars from us in the name of the Nigerian Passport Intervention Exercise?
When?

What will it take the “most educated immigrants in the United States” to stop the merciless, brutal fraud?
When will these “third party” individuals start working like the rest of us in the United States, instead of milking us to the tune of $300,000.00 (or N108,000,000.00) in just THREE DAYS?
What will it take?

Before going any further into this vicious extortion, below is a STERN WARNING from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) January 21, 2019, to all Nigerians AGAINST patronizing what the Agency has come to know and appropriately described as the “THIRD PARTY TOUTS”.

Below is how the NIS Spokesman, Mr. Sunday James, put it while introducing the new Nigerian passport. As you read this warning, equally pay CLOSER attention to the DATES when the issuance of the new passport is expected to START in New York, Washington, and Atlanta USA:

“Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday [January 21, 2019] said registration and the issuance of new international passport [with a 10-year validity] would cost Nigerians N70,000. NIS spokesman Sunday James, who made the disclosure, said the agency will commence issuance of the new international passport from Monday, March 4, 2019 in Abuja. ISSUANCE OF THE PASSPORT WILL ROLLOUT IN NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, AND ATLANTA, USA WOULD FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY AFTER LONDON ON APRIL 22; WHILE OTHER LOCATIONS, LOCAL AND ABROAD, WOULD FOLLOW IN SEQUENCE FROM APRIL 29.

According to James, the advantages of the new passport includes its 10-year validity, self-tracking of application and express centres for urgent application…. Other advantages he said included weather friendliness, compliance with latest ICAO standard, polycarbonate technology that reduces the incidence of damage as well saves Nigerians in the Diaspora time of frequent visits to Nigerian Embassies.

HE, HOWEVER, URGED “NIGERIANS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REFORMS, AVOID PATRONISING THIRD PARTY OR TOUTS AND UTILISE THE ONLINE PLATFORMS PROVIDED BY THE SERVICE FOR THEIR PASSPORT APPLICATION.”
[The Guardian newspaper, https://t.guardian.ng/news/new-nigeria-international-passport-to-cost-n70000-says-nis

Or incase the page is deleted, here is the Google Screen Copy downloaded today, Jan. 31, 2019,

http://www.umez.com/Consulates/Gaurdian-Report-Copied-Jan-31-2019.jpg or this http://www.umez.com/Consulates/Gaurdian-Full-Report-Copied-Jan-31-2019.jpg ]

Obviously, we are glad that the federal government of Nigeria has recognized the truth in the petitions, letters and complaints from Nigerians in Houston and Dallas about how some Consul General and his “third party” agents extort hundreds of thousands of Dollars from their fellow citizens without mercy, conscience or compassion. However, more should be done beyond “warning”. As we fight corruption and extortion in our midst, the government of Nigeria should do more to prevent the fox from entering the hen house, and we, the “most educated in Houston and the United States”, must NOT continue to allow ourselves to be led to the slaughter house by some Consul General and his “third party” agents. We must stop them because they will NEVER stop – given the size of their bounty IN JUST THREE DAYS.

As I indicated earlier, several Whatsapp announcements are being circulated this very moment in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc., asking Nigerians to come for Passport Intervention Exercise in Houston this month, February, and next month, March 2019.

Below are the usual, familiar instructions and the requirements by the “third party” individuals – being circulated right NOW via Whatsapp:

Go online and pay the Nigerian government (through INNOVATE 1 website) the standard fee for passport: $106 for adults and $77 for children. AFTER paying this standard fee required by the Nigerian Government, go and purchase ADDITIONAL $100 Money Order or Postal Order per passport for an UN-NAMED Consular or Consul General and $50 Money Order or Postal Order per passport for the UN-NAMED “third party” individuals for “processing”.

Specifically, Nigerians must bring to the Passport Intervention site $150 (far MORE than the cost of the Passport itself) to be paid to an UN-NAMED Consular or Consul General and his UN-NAMED “third party” individual agents. So, given the overwhelming demands for Passports (about 3,000 people on the average) in and around Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and the nearby States, an UN-NAMED Consul General (who will later put his name on his own BLANK $100 Money Orders, and who is, by the way, being paid by the Nigerian government to process these passports in the first place) will cash those Money Orders and pocket EXTRA $300,000.00 (i.e., $100 x 3,000) or N108,000,000.00 IN JUST THREE DAYS.

The “third party” individual agents (about 2 – 9 of them), on the other hand, will add any name or names to their own BLANK $50 Money Orders, cash them and share a whopping $150,000.00 (i.e., $50 x 3,000) or N54,000,000.00 IN JUST THREE DAYS.

How can these FEW INDIVIDUALS continue to exploit the “most educated immigrants in the United States of America” and continue to get away with it?

Fellow Nigerians, this is the most egregious, greedy kind of extortion – explaining why some “third party” individual agents do NOT have any other job in the United States. In fact, not only that this daylight robbery is unconscionable, malicious and immoral, NONE of these “third party” individuals has ever been held accountable when the passports were delayed, or anything went wrong with the delivery of the passports. The bottom line is that our Consulate officers must do the job they are hired to do for Nigerians in the United States – PERIOD.

Recall that last year (2018) ALONE, two separate bank accounts were created by the “third party” individuals with Wells Fargo Bank (Acc #: 2403939255) and the Bank of America (Acc #: 2403939255), and Nigerians in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Louisiana, Oklahoma were directed to pay into those two accounts $220 per passport instead of paying the STANDARD FEE of $106 per passport through INNOVATE 1 website. [Of course, some Nigerians in Houston and Dallas immediately wrote to the Nigerian government and Nigerians in Houston and Dallas, thereby halting the large scale of such ruthless extortion.

We are particularly grateful to Nigerians in Dallas for the courageous protest on June 28, 2018, that further halted that extortion in Dallas,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_il_V7WDxM&t=1s .]

Indeed, some Nigerians are considering a petition to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if this kind of activity continues – because money laundering can start this way.

Fellow Nigerians, I recognize that we need passports as a fish needs water, but that should not be an excuse for an un-named Consular or Consul General and a couple of his “third party” agents to extort hundreds of thousands of Dollars in the name of Passport Intervention Exercise. Indeed, it should be noted that we have written a petition to the Nigerian government to appoint at least an Honorary (non-salaried) Consul General (within Nigerians already living here in Houston) to process passports and visas for Nigerians in Houston and its neighboring cities and States as done by several African, Asian and European countries (http://thenigerian.foundation/Petition.html ).

While we are working that Petition, some Consul General and his “third party” agents are very busy frustrating that effort – an effort that will better serve all of us – because of their HUGE payoff in three days through “Passport Intervention Exercises” in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc.

For us and our society to meaningfully grow in TRUST and PROSPERITY, we must, as the “most educated immigrants in Houston and the United States”, stand on PRINCIPLE, and stop rewarding this bad behavior. Let us heed to the NIS warning, as some Nigerians in Houston and Dallas have done last year, and STOP patronizing an UN-NAMED Consul General and his UN-NAMED “third party” individuals.

Sincerely,

Prof. Bedford N. Umez
Umez Foundation: www.umez.com (Addressing Nigerian African Issues Head-on).
Email: umez@umez.com ,
Dept. of Govt.,
Lee College, Texas USA,
Phone: 832-731-7061.

Note: “Nigerian immigrants have the highest levels of education in Houston and the United States…. Although they make up a tiny proportion of the U.S. population, a whopping 17 percent of all Nigerians in this country held master’s degrees while 4 percent had a doctorate.”

Source:
(https://www.chron.com/news/article/Data-show-Nigerians-the-most-educated-in-the-U-S-1600808.php ).

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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