Some Nigerian visa applicants to India, on Wednesday, decried the undue delays by the India High Commission, in Abuja, to process their travel documents, saying that this had impacted them negatively.
The applicants, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews, narrated their ordeals as regards the processing and approval of their travel documents by the mission, in spite of paying the required non-refundable visa fees.
Others, who expressed dissatisfaction over their journeys from outside Abuja only to be told that their visas were not ready for collection, appealed to the Federal Government to intervene so as to to reduce their sufferings.
An applicant, Adewale Fawe, said that delays experienced in processing of visas often lowered the self-esteem of Nigerians, and as such government should wade-in to promote regards for due process.
According to him, although visa processing and approval takes a maximum of two weeks in most diplomatic missions, the India High Commission should not be an exemption to this international standard.
Mr Fawe said, “The way Nigerians are often treated, in terms of visa at the India High Commission is poor; despite the situation whereby people apply and pay over N100,000 for visas.
“Sometimes, the staff of the mission dump our passports in their offices for up to three to four months after the application; you cannot access your passport, because it is in their offices.
“Therefore, this calls for urgent steps to be taken, because if we do not speak on the issue, it will become a norm.
“If they are not going to issue the visa after screening our documents, they should return our passports, rather than collect the passport and the fee and only to dump it in the mission.”
In the similar vein, Onyekelu Kosisochukwu, a Catholic Seminarian at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, decried the delays in the processing of visas, as this had hindered his academic pursuits.
According to him, this is sad being my first visa application to India for a second degree, after completion of one in Philosophy, as a seminarian, in Nsukka.
“I applied for a BSc in Computer Science at a University in India, therefore I applied for visa which I am yet to collect after the payment of N100,000 visa fee since June 24, 2021,
“Since the application, I have not heard from the mission, when I came later in July, I was asked along with other applicants to write my name and submit my passport number and visa slip.
“I have not heard from the mission, but I was only informed in September that there was irregularity in my document date and after correction I have not heard from them till now,” Kosisochukwu said.
Another applicant, Afam Emeka, decried the risks often taken to get to the High Commission for updates on visa approvals.
“Some of us follow due process to school abroad, but we are dissatisfied with the delays. We have duly paid the required fees and submitted the relevant documents, yet delayed to get visa.
“Since I arrived in Abuja from Delta state in September, I have consistently come to the Commission and I spend N1,000 daily on transportation,” Mr Emeka said.
For Kamal Usman, an India-based Nigerian since 2013, said that it is easier to get visa to Nigeria from India, than it is from Nigeria to India.
According to him, the only way forward was for government to intervene, to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians wanting to travel to India.
Mr Usman said, “I appeal to government to wade into the matter, because some Nigerians travel to India for medical check ups and others for academic purposes.
“The challenges centre on delays in the processing of travel documents which hinge on visa, that poses difficulty for most Nigerians wanting to travel to India to achieve their desired goals.”
Meanwhile, Ismail Adeoye, also a visa applicant, stressed the need for proper coordination in the application and collection processes, to tackle visa related issues.
“If there is anything wrong with visa applications, nobody puts a call to notify applicants about the problem, until he or she decides to check voluntarily on the availability, which causes delay.
“After application, the mission officials will promise to call you and that is how the waiting starts; classes have commenced in India and there is no school offering admission again this year.
“Time and financial resources are being wasted; are we going to be granted visa, we do not know, our passports are there and they are holding us to ransom,” Adeoye said.
The mission officials refused to speak on the matter when approached to respond to the complaints over delays in visa processing by the commission.