NIDCOM clears air on alleged video of Nigerians at embassy in Switzerland
By Lesley Muosowo Otu
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), has reacted to the video circulating on social media alleging that the Nigerian mission in Switzerland invited police to arrest Nigerians who were at the Nigerian Embassy in that country to procure their passports.
A statement by NIDCOM Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols, Abdur-Rahman Baligun says it as imperative to state the facts of the matter.and put the incident into the proper and true perspective
The statement reads, “In line with Covid-19 protocols, the Embassy in Bern. Switzerland, is only allowed to attend to 10 applicants, however , the Mission worked out a program that made it possible to attend to a maximum of 20 daily, spacing out the appointments.
“But on this day, 64 Nigerians besieged the Nigerian mission in Bern but it turned out that only 10 of them were on scheduled appointment .
“So 54 of them had no appointment for that day. That apart ,they had not made the mandatory online payment And majority of the applicants came from Italy and Spain without any appointment whatsoever. And without any payments made on line
“The Embassy only reopened after Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in July and were restricted to attending to a limited number as stipulated by the country’s Covid 19 protocol.
“It is also instructive to note as stated earlier that majority of the applicants came in from Italy and Spain without a prior appointment and without making the mandatory online payment.”
Balogun stated that while the Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, Amb. Baba Madugu was addressing them and appealing to them to respect the Covid-19 rules in place and also follow due process, they barged in through the front door and overcrowded a hall that was meant to receive only 10 people at a time. He said the mission did not call the Police as erroneously stated in the video but invited the Embassy Protection Unit to bring calm and decorum back to the hall.
According to him, the men of the Embassy protection unit addressed them and also looked through the appointment list and advised those not on appointment and those who had not made their payments on line to calm down
“They were then given phone numbers and e-mail to access to book an appointment and make their on line payments
“Only those on appointment and those who had made their online payments were attended to. Others were advised to follow the due process with an assurance that everyone will be attended to as long as they abide by the rules.
“The affected Nigerians left the hall peacefully , only to the surprise of Swiss officers of the Embassy protection unit and the mission, some of them recorded a video which definitely misrepresented the true scenario.
“The Covid-19 pandemic which has necessitated the introductions of strict protocols in these unusual times is difficult for every one and every country .
“We appeal to Nigerians abroad to be good ambassadors of Nigeria wherever they are and obey laws put in place.
“The Nigerian mission in Bern is still attending to Nigerians who follow the process , pay on line and book their appointments as stipulated, ” it reads.