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How the Nigerian Embassy in Austria corruptly overcharges every visa applicant

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  • Stops Nigerians from going into the embassy with cell phones
  • POS installed at the embassy as a conduit pipe of corruption

An open letter to President Buhari, National Assembly/House of Reps. Members, Foreign Affairs Minister, and the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration

According to one of the famous quotes of Martin Luther King Jr., “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” My mind and brain clashed severally on the exposure to the exploitation and criminality going on inside the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria. Nevertheless, as Prof. Wole Soyinka said, “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” My impetus and courage are driven by the fact that my convictions are bigger than my fear – because Nigeria will be great if we all do our part.

Consequently, as a true patriot, I am compelled to add my voice in solidarity to the cries of Nigerians in Austria who dearly crave the urgent attention of the Nigerian government to end the disgrace, manipulation, intimidation, fraud, and neglect they have been subjected to for a long time unchallenged at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria. According to the complaints, the conduit pipe of the evil this time is mainly orchestrated via visa and passport applications – code-named “Administration fee”.

 

When one applies for a Nigerian visa online, one goes through all the processes, pays the money as the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service stipulates, and the person is instructed to take specific required documents and proceed to the Nigerian Embassy for the visa. But when one gets to the embassy and submits the documents, surprisingly one is not given the visa as directed, rather a fraudulent transfer slip of €50 – claimed by the embassy to be an administrative fee – is given to that applicant to go to any nearby bank and pay into an account allegedly and boldly written to belong to the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna. If one does not pay this money the person will not be given the visa. It is equally the same thing with the international passport. After the payment online, one must pay an extra €30 at the embassy if the person is living in Austria, otherwise, it is €100, or else the person will not be attended to.

One of the banks accounts these monies were paid into was opened on 09.08.2021 at Bank Austria, with the account number AT64 1200 0515 7402 311. Wherever the monies were paid before then would be worth investigating. The account was later closed sometime in March 2022 and was simultaneously replaced with an installed POS inside the embassy. Currently, the POS is what people are using to pay the imposed extra €50 and €30/€100 administration fees by the embassy for visa and passport applications. Closing and reopening an account several times in the same bank in a developed country like Austria which has a working society is an indication that something is wrong.

Following are other fees that equally go into the same account (attached is a screenshot info of the “Administrative Charges” from the embassy’s website before it was removed): (1) “Temporal Work Permit cable Visa endorsement fee €100,” (2) “STR Visa endorsement fee (per document) €200”, (3) “Urgent collection subject to approval by Minister (C&I) €50”, (4) “Lost Passports €200”, (5) “Change of names due to marriage €50”, (6) “Applicants from other passport issuing countries (in addition to other regular charges) €100”, (7) “Processing of applications for renunciation of citizenship €300”, (8) “Endorsement of Business Documents €200”, and (9), “Attestation of documents €40.” Reliable information from an impeccable source is that these proceeds – between €30,000 to €44,000 – are not honestly remitted to the Federal Government.

Besides the POS payment there is also the possibility to pay other so-acclaimed administrative fees by the embassy at the bank. Attached is a bank transfer slip given to a person by the embassy for two persons’ visas to be paid into the purported embassy’s account with the number AT12 1200 0100 2182 8982 at Bank Austria.

The ambiguity and the questions here are: Is Nigerian Immigration officially aware of this very €50 (equivalent to N38,000) and €30 (around N23,400) extra visa and passport charges? If yes: do the monies paid to go into the account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or to some pockets of a few privileged individuals? If indeed, it is truly true that the money actually goes into the Nigerian Government’s account: why is it not possible that one can also pay this extra money online at the same time one is equally paying for the visa or passport fee? Why are the charges not stated like other fees on the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service as one applies? Why was it difficult and considered not important to inform people that they would be required to pay extra €50 and €30/€100 for administrative fees at the embassy like they were informed on what they needed to bring to the embassy – if the monies were appropriate and not corruptly inserted in the process? Is the Federal Government of Nigeria aware of the monies that are currently going through the installed POS at the embassy?

For how long shall many of our leaders continue to treat us like animals – torment, oppress, disgrace, and humiliate us everywhere, every time, and at every little loophole they see, both at home and abroad? Evil does not know one’s religion or tribe. We all suffer from it. So, when can we as Nigerians forget our differences and come together against oppression, corruption, repression, and injustice, etc. and say in unison that enough is enough without sentiments?

Furthermore fellow Nigerians, it is essential to also let you know that so many Nigerians who went home for the 2022 Christmas holiday were heartbroken because they were exploited, frustrated, and subjected to abuse by the embassy officials due to their inefficiencies. How? Many who had applied and had paid for visas to travel to Nigeria either lost the money they had paid for air tickets or had to pay extra for rebooking because the embassy failed to give them visas on time, with flimsy excuses of lack of “visa sticker.” Must we always be maltreated and exploited like this?

The sad one currently again is that no Nigerian is allowed to go into the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria with mobile phones. Why? At first, they started compelling visiting Nigerians to off their cellphones before being allowed into the embassy, and they have now graduated to the point of not allowing anyone to go in with a cell phone. Everyone must deposit his/her cell phone with the receptionist, or else the person is denied entry. What is all this? What is there – inside the embassy – to hide? Are we the only embassy in the world? Why are they afraid of their own shadows? The cellphones could at least help many who wait at the embassy for a long time to interact and keep them busy. But who cares how the people feel? That one cannot be reached or make calls while inside the embassy is heartbreaking and very sad. However, the reasons for this awkward and inconsiderate decision are obvious. Aptly, they want to avoid Nigerians taking photos or making videos of their embarrassing conduct, and the waiting room of the embassy they have shamelessly turned into a restaurant of Jollof rice and a pepper soup joint, and a below-standard of the dirty restroom that is an eyesore. Otherwise what else?

Nigeria is a country where ugly and despicable things could be made to look normal, especially if highly placed people are involved. My heart bleeds. Consequently, I protest on behalf of concerned Nigerians in the Diaspora and appeal to the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to please come to the aid of Nigerians in Austria via the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama whose bulk of these complaints directly fall on his desk and in conjunction with the Acting Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration, Isah Jere Idris – to please urgently and sincerely react efficiently to the moan of the aggrieved Nigerians for the benefits of all. We plead for an official investigation into the unscrupulous and indecent activities and corruption going on at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria, and demand an immediate stop to them. It is incredible. Perhaps, the case is equally not different in other Nigerian Embassies around the globe and the investigation should be comprehensively extended. We are watching.

Unbelievable things are happening under this Nigeria Embassy in Vienna, Austria that is yet to be revealed, and when they are, they will shock the entire world.

God bless Nigeria.

May God bless Nigeria.

♦ Uzoma Ahamefule, a refined African traditionalist and a patriotic citizen writes from Vienna, Austria. WhatsApp: +436607369050; Email Contact Uzoma >>>>

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Houston

Historic Firefighter pay settlement and new contract win city council approval

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Houston City Council has approved a historic pay settlement and a new five-year contract for the 4,000 dedicated men and women of the Houston Fire Department. The vote marks a long-awaited victory for Houston firefighters, ending the disrespect and legal challenges and beginning the process of returning the HFD to a world-class department with adequate staffing and equipment.

“This is a historic day! I urge Houston firefighters and their families to relish this well-deserved victory. For eight long years, you have persevered through immense challenges while continuing to protect and serve our community,” said Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “Today’s vote by City Council is not just a resolution of past grievances; it’s recognition of our sacrifices and a commitment to providing the resources needed to continue serving Houston with dedication and pride.”

Houston City Council stalls vote on Fire Department contract – Houston  Public Media

The settlement includes provisions for back pay owed to firefighters, addressing a contentious issue that has strained labor relations for nearly a decade. The new five-year collective bargaining agreement provides pay hikes, significant improvements in working conditions, enhanced benefits, a renewed focus on recruitment and retention, and mental health support — a crucial component given firefighting’s stressful and demanding nature. The landmark deal underscores the core tenets of what it means to be a Houston firefighter: delivering excellent service, being good stewards of city resources, and giving back to the community.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mayor Whitmire for his steadfast commitment to bringing this ordeal to a close,” said Lancton. “He made a promise, and he has fulfilled it. His support and public recognition of Houston firefighters and the job they do are bolstering morale and helping to mend years of distrust. We eagerly anticipate further collaboration as we strive to enhance firefighting and emergency services for Houstonians.”

Firefighters will receive their back pay in July. The new five-year contract is effective with the start of the city’s new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award

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Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.

 

The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.

 

In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.

 

The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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House Republicans vote to hold Garland in contempt over Biden interview audio

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House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur on his handling of classified documents.

The final vote was 216 to 207. Rep. David Joyce of Ohio was the only Republican who voted against the contempt resolution.

Speaker Mike Johnson called the outcome “a significant step in maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities.”

“It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas,” Johnson said in a statement.

MORE: Biden asserts executive privilege over audio of interview with special counsel Hur

Garland, in response, said it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland said in a statement. “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

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