By Ozioruva Aliu
THE National Union of Nigeria Association in Italy (NUNAI) has decried the inability of their members to procure international passports at the consular office in Rome owing to insufficient quantities available, a development that has strained relations between the Nigeria consular office and her citizens in Italy.
The group has called on the leadership of the National Assemblies to intervene into the shortages by calling on the relevant government authorities to come to their aid.
The group in a letter signed by its National President, Samson Hodge Iriakannu and Secretary, Deacon Nosa Osawaru which was captioned “Nunai’s passionate appeal to your exalted office”, and addressed to the leadership of the Senate, House of Representatives and the Controller General Nigerian immigration services that were made available to journalists in Benin yesterday lamented that large numbers of Nigerian citizens seeking to renew their passport have been ignored by the authority and has led to frustration among those seeking to regularise their stay.
Parts of the letter reads: “The official record of Nigerians seeking for greener pastures in Italy is over 180.000 with a sizable number of professionals and their contributions to the Economic growth of Italy and Nigeria can’t be overemphasised.
“Despite all these, NUNAI as a body have been faced with daunting issues arising from the Embassy which has put the union under immense pressure.
“On the issuance of Nigeria passports, Italy houses the vast majority of Nigerians only behind the United Kingdom in the whole of Europe yet we are only entitled to a short supply and this has caused a major uproar amongst Nigerians in Italy if not for the diplomacy employed by the Nunai leadership to curtain the situation.
“It is of note that the presentation of your country’s passport is the prerequisite for a permit of stay and authority to work.
“The increasing rate of Nigerians population in Italy has been ignored over the years hence the shortage. A case in point shows where Italy and Switzerland were allocated the same quantity of passports where Swiss is ¼ of Italy’s population a matter for concern.
“Our population in Italy is on the rise. You can imagine in a month we have like 5,000 application”.