PRESS STATEMENT ON HMFA's ENGAGEMENT WITH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM OF VISA FACILITATING GLOBAL SERVICES NIGERIA LTD (VFS. GLOBAL)
The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, OFR today received in his office a Management Team of Visa Facilitating Global Services Nigeria Limited (VFS.Global).
He was accompanied by the Under-Secretary (Economic and Consular), Chief of Protocol (COP), Director (Consular and Immigration Services Division) and the Spokesperson of the Ministry. The VFS team of five was led by Ms. Natasha Bhargava (Senior Manager, Abuja).
The visa service company was summoned by the Honourable Minister to register Nigeria's concern about how Nigerian visa applicants were being treated at the Company's visa application centers in both Abuja and Lagos. He pointed out that reports reaching him indicate that those who have the means and pay the sum of ₦10,000, received VIP treatment, while the rest are left to wallow in the sun or in the rain or in uncomfortable accommodation with no cooling facilities, even at the height of the hot season. He informed the team that it was unacceptable to have our citizens queue in rain and shine or subjected to inconveniences. This, he reasoned was due to the fact that the company will not provide suitable accommodation during the process of visa application verification and submission. He further informed them that the onus was theirs to provide the basic minimum comfort for their clients, having taken the responsibility to collect visa applications. In response, Ms. Bhargava explained their operations methodology, which according to her, among other things, took into consideration the comfort of visa applicants and promised to do more to improve on their services.
On the VIP facility, she said it was optional. She indicated that suggestion boxes were available at all their centers for customer feedback. On that note, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the team for their quick response to his invitation and hoped that the situation at their collection centers will drastically improve and that Nigerians receive proper treatment, especially now that both sides understand themselves better.
The Ministry hereby advises visa applicants to take advantage of the suggestion boxes provided at the collection centers and provide complaints or other suggestions to the management of VFS Global that will lead to an improvement in their service delivery.
It will be recalled that last week – Thursday, August 30th 2012 – the Honourable Minister summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, during which occasion he protested unequivocally on how Nigerian visa applications were being subjected to unwholesome delays of a minimum of 45 working days by the Canadian authorities. The latest meeting with VFS Global is a continuation of the Honourable Minister's campaign to have Nigerians treated decently at foreign Missions in Nigeria, in their bid to procure visas. The campaign itself, is in keeping with his promise that under his watch, he will not countenance maltreatment of Nigerians in any form, both at home and abroad.
Ogbole Amedu Ode
Public Communications Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
5th September, 2012.