Police had to be called to maintain order in front of the Nigerian embassy in Berlin on Monday.
According to the police, about 150 people wanted to enter the embassy ostensibly on appointment for various consular services. As they were not allowed to enter the grounds of the chancery, which cannot take that number of people at a time, a rowdy scene erupted because of loud protests.
A video surfaced on social media showing the rowdy scenes in front of the chancery building in the Berlin district of Mitte.
The Nigerians said they had an appointment at 9am, a policewoman said, mostly for the issuance or reissuance of passport.
Since the embassy operates an online appointment booking system, it’s suspected that the system malfunctioned as the embassy doesn’t have the capacity to attend to 150 people in a single day.
The police closed off the area in front of the embassy and ensured the Corona-related minimum social distance rule was maintained by the crowd.
— Atila Altun (@AtilaAltun) January 4, 2021
As of writing this report, The African Courier has not been able to reach the embassy for its own side of the story.
Nigerian associations have been internally discussing the situation at the embassy in the past months, as difficulties in getting appointment for passport issuance was causing those affected extreme hardship.
At a meeting with Nigerian community representatives in September last year, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar blamed the long waiting time for appointment on the coronavirus pandemic.
The envoy explained that the current backlog of appointments accumulated when the embassy shut down for several months last year due to the pandemic. And that efforts were being made to clear the backlog.
The situation had improved since last October as a swifter process of appointment booking and passport issuance was introduced and the incident on Monday came as a surprise to watchers of events at the diplomatic mission.
The embassy was in the news last November when a video emerged showing a security official in a situation suggesting that he had curried sexual favour from a woman in exchange for facilitating the issuance of passport. Due to the difficulties experienced by those seeking appointment for passport issuance at the embassy, rumours had been circulating that desperate applicants were being blackmailed into paying bribes to be given appointments.The man has meanwhile been dismissed by the embassy.