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FG urged to step in to end locals' woes in Azerbaijan

23 February 2015, 21:32

Abuja - A Local organisation has appealed to the Federal Government to intervene amid reports the Embassy in Iran was not to renewing international passports.

In a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Aminu Wali, and the Chairperson, Diaspora Committee, Nigeria House of Representatives Abike Dabiri, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) expressed concern the development was having on the situation of Nigerians living in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, signed the open letter.

Several Nigerians living in Baku Azerbaijan have told SERAP that they participated in an e-passport exercise conducted by two Nigerian Immigration officers. This exercise took place between 31st August 2014 and 1st September 2014 and was witnessed by the Ambassador of Nigeria to Iran, Alhaji Tukur Mani, and an Embassy officer. Every adult participant paid $150 while every child paid $120 but the Embassy has so far failed and/or refused to issue the participants any passport, the organisation said.

Also read: Hundreds of international passports recovered from agents

The group said president of Nigerians in Diaspora Azerbaijan Chapter, Nick Nwolisa, was quoted as saying Nigerians residing in Azerbaijan were left to their own fate and as such some of them are on the verge of losing their jobs because without a valid passport, they could not acquire a residence or working permit.

Most would be wandering the streets of Baku looking over their back, because with an expired legal permit, you are a target of the immigration officers who are so bent on deporting Nigerians. Some would be expelled from school and can¹t continue with their studies. We have been basically on our own here, and the situation we are in now is actually a matter of urgency and desperation, he was quoted.

The organization added that refusal to speedily process the renewal of passports for the Nigerians may put them in breach of immigration laws in Azerbaijan and constitute arbitrary deprivation of nationality, contrary to international standards, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples¹ Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party.

It is absolutely important for the government of Nigeria to recognise, guarantee and facilitate the effective enjoyment of the right to nationality of every Nigerian wherever they may be, and to ensure that no citizen is exposed to statelessness and other violations of human rights.

The Embassy or government officials could not be reached for comment.


- CAJ News

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