“Why We Could’t Come Home For Sallah” – Nigerians In Qatar
Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Qatar chapter, said lack of functional passport production machine at the Nigerian embassy in that country has made it difficult for them to travel for Sallah.
NIDO-Qatar president, Mr. Victor Ikoli, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.
He said it had become important to have a functional passport machine at the embassy because Nigerians travel all the time, and not only during Sallah.
According to him, the government of Qatar had declared Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as public holidays.
NAN reports that Sunday is a working day in Qatar, while Friday and Saturday are weekends.
Ikoli said, “Sadly, as big as the Nigerian community in Qatar is, we rely on the Nigerian Immigration service in the United Arab Emirates to come to our rescue in terms of passport renewal.
“We have a large community with 11,000 members.
“Although we have appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission to intervene, we are yet to get a response.
“We have 400 people wanting to do capturing for passport and the UAE delegation just came to spend two and a half days to attend to us.
“Some people’s passports will expire and they will have to depart, while other people’s job security is on the line due to expiration of their passports.
“So, Eid-al-Adha celebration for us in Qatar is hinged on the processing of our passports, as most Nigerians here are Muslim and are supposed to be with their families to celebrate, but cannot,” Ikoli added.
He said that the period within which people were expected to process their passports was too short, adding that those who were captured in August would wait until October before they could get their passports.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to wade into the issue of renewal and procurement of passport being faced by NIDO-Qatar chapter, because their employers are not always tolerant once foreign workers’ travel documents expire.