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Nigerian missions abroad rated low in new survey

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A survey carried out by the National Association of Seadogs, otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity has rated Nigeria foreign missions low.

The survey, titled ‘State of Nigerian Embassies and Consulates Report 2022′ was unveiled on Friday in Abuja.

According to the report, high numbers of people expressed dissatisfaction with the services rendered by the country’s missions abroad.

58 per cent of the respondents said services at the country’s missions abroad are not up to speed.

The survey stated, “The survey respondents’ perceptions about services received showed that only 20% of respondents were satisfied with services received at the embassy, 22% were neutral, and 58% were dissatisfied.

“The physical infrastructure and presentation of the Nigerian embassy was considered excellent and good by about 7% of respondents. In comparison, 66% believed the infrastructure and presentation was poor and 27% felt the infrastructure and presentation was average.

“The attitude of the staff was considered satisfactory by approximately only one (1) in every five (5) respondents, while 56% believed the attitude of staff was not satisfactory and 25% were neutral. However, about 31% of respondents indicated that they have had to pay non-official fees compared to 67% that did not pay any non-official fees. The reason for the payment includes expediting passport renewal, securing an appointment, payment to an agent or Nigerian association to facilitate service, and making photocopies at the embassy.

“Notwithstanding the large number that did not pay non-official fees, 81% of respondents were not happy with their interactions with the embassy compared with 19% that were satisfied.

“The significant issues of concern are non-digitalisation of service, alleged extortion racketeering inefficient processes, that is no Service Level Agreements and existent, poor turn around times on services delivered, lack of good infrastructure physical services, and poor attitude of staff in the various locations.

“However, the non-digitalisation of services is one of the most significant areas considered outdated at Nigerian embassies consulates. The impression is different in visa application and passport processing.

“There is a remarkable difference between the impression about visa application and low processing. It might be interpreted based on the nationality of those involved. Foreigners many apply for visas, while Nigerians apply for passports. About 49% of respondents were neutral about the time it took to process their visa, compared to 21% of respondents for passport collection.

“Furthermore, only 13% of respondents were satisfied with the time it took to get the visas compared to 20% of respondents who were satisfied with the processing time of the passports. However, the level of dissatisfaction for visa applicants was 38% compared to 60% passport collection. Consular services provide an avenue for citizens to interact with embassy staff, those interactions need to be positive.

“The level of interactions of the embassy with the Nigerian community is low, and where there are interactions, the satisfaction level is a paltry 14%. However, 75% of the respondents considered the interactions with the business community as poor.

“Finally, 25% of the respondents were satisfied with the information provided on the website compared to a significant 59% that were not satisfied and 16% that were neutral. Providing up-to-date information and interactions with the Nigerian community is an essential component of the work of the mission. The inability of the mission to provide these services to the people’s satisfaction is a cause for concern.”

Explaining the rationale behind the survey, NAS/PC Capoon, Abuja, Abiola Owoaje, said “it was to unravel the problems with the country’s mission which has constantly been a source of concern to Nigerians in the diaspora and at home.”

The study, it was learnt involved site visitation to the embassies and consulates, desktop review and analysis of 358 respondents from a cross-sectional survey.

The survey was designed to ascertain the experiences and perceptions of Nigerians and non- Nigerians who use the services provided at the embassies and consulates. Nigeria currently has 219 missions abroad, but the initial target of the study was 94 embassies and 12 consulates.

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