On August 1st, outside the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, Nigerian demonstrators assembled to protest against the consulate for not issuing passports to travelers and requiring them to pay for visas instead.
As people stood at the entrance of the consulate building at 828 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017, the protesters held up placards and chanted, demanding for passports to be issued. Some of the placards read, “We are Citizens. We Are Not Visitors” and “Sack N Go!”
One placard read, “NEPA no dey Nigeria. NEPA no dey Embassy. Na wetin be this?” This was in reference to a SaharaReporters on how the consulate had its power cut for non-payment.
The building was locked by security officials at its main entrance and the consulate staff had to gain entry into the building using an alternative entrance.
In an interview with the organizer of the protest, Lolade Olayokun, SaharaReporters learned that the consulate was wrought with controversy.
SaharaReporters reliably learned from some of the frustrated Nigerian protesters outside the consulate entrance that they were being required to pay for visas, which would cost more money, in addition to the cost of processing their travel documents.
Some of the people present had come from other states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, only to be told to return at a later date.
The atmosphere was tense, with some irritated men and women banging on the glass doors of the entrance to the consulate building, demanding that they be allowed inside.
Four representatives were allowed into the building for an “intervention” which led to travel documents and visas being issued, but no passports were issued.
The August 1st protest was the culmination of activities by the media personality, Ms. Olayokun, directed towards drawing attention to the issues with the consulate.
On July 25, Ms. Olayokun wrote a Facebook post in which she detailed her experience during a visit to the consulate. She wrote, “There has got to be a WAY to SACK the entire administration at the Nigerian Consulate in New York City. That place is a complete NIGHTMARE!”
Under the auspices of Battabox, a Nigerian news and entertainment channel, the23-year old New-York based Nigerian went to the consulate to interview people who expressed their grievances.
On July 29, Ms. Olayokun called for the protest to take place starting at 9AM and ending at 5PM.