An appeal has gone out to Nigerians living in Germany to desist from paying bribes to access service at their country’s embassy. The appeal was made by Alhaji Mohammed Bello Musa Anka, Minister in charge of the Consular & Immigration Section at the embassy, while speaking in Dortmund at the annual general meeting of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Germany (NIDOG) at the weekend.
Mr Anka, who represented HE Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, at the event conveyed the displeasure of Ambassador Tuggar about the stories flying around of bribe taking in connection to embassy’s local staff or people posing as agents to officials working at the diplomatic mission.
“Nobody should take money from you,” he said. “If anybody demands for money for anything. It’s wrong. And we must stop it.”
The diplomat even called on Nigerians to resist any attempts to make them pay money for whatever service at the embassy. “We’re in Europe. If it happens elsewhere, it shouldn’t happen in Europe. Some of us are very naive to pay money to anybody,” he added.
Mr Anka expressed lack of understanding for anybody who lives in Europe to even pay anybody who demands money from them since they should know that such a practice should not be condoned. “It’s a shame for anybody living in Europe to give bribe to access service in their embassy. You agree to succumb to corruption and you blame the embassy,” he said.
“You’re professionals, you’re the headlight of the Nigerian community. If anybody demands money from you, call us to inform us. We will punish anybody found guilty of taking money from people,” Mr Anka assured, to the applause of those present at the event.
“We introduced the online appointment system so that you don’t need to know anybody to get appointment. A fellow Nigerian hacked into the system and he started selling appointment slots to his fellow Nigerians,” he revealed. “So, if you look at the website, it would have been booked for many months. And somebody sits in an Internet Cafe and started taking money from people to get appointment. We took him to the German police and told them that we would like to prosecute him, but until today nothing has happened,” he continued. “So when you’re talking about corruption you now know how it functions.”
“The ambassador is doing everything to make things right. Only on Monday this week, we did a minimum of 102 passports, on Tuesday 82 passports, on Wednesday 74 passports, with biometrics captured. So, we’re doing our best,” he said on how the embassy had improved its service delivery.
Anka assured that the embassy, especially since the resumption of the current ambassador, has improved its capacity to serve Nigerians, appealing for the support of Nigerians for better service delivery at the diplomatic mission.
NIDOG held its annual general meeting in Dortmund on Saturday, 22 June. A new executive committee of the body was elected at the event. Dr RosaLyn Dressmann, a sociologist and social entrepreneur, was elected President while Mr Godwin Ogbebor, a security and anti-terrorism expert, as Vice President and Mr Femi Awoniyi, publisher of The African Courier, as General Secretary.
Other new officers of NIDOG exco are performing artist Mr Toni Tuklan (Ass. General Secretary), internationally renowned artist Dr Vivian Chioma Timothy (Public Relations Officer), Mazi Obiora Nweke (Project Officer), Ms Chinelo Ntagu (Financial Secretary) and Hajia Saratu Leko Peters (Treasurer).