The High Commissioner, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isolala, in the statement, lamented the activities of racketeers at the Mission.
The Nigerian High Commission in London, the United Kingdom, has said it is investigating the corruption in the Nigerian passports application process in the country.
In a message to Nigerians in the United Kingdom, dated 21st May 2021, the federal government assured the availability of sufficient passport booklets for deserving applicants in the United Kingdom.
“Following the strategic meetings, on Wednesday 19th May 2021, the High Commission was able to identify and break the gang of passport racketeers in London.
“The Mission also discovered that 18 innocent Nigerians paid between £200 and £350 to racketeers in their desire to urgently acquire or renew Nigerian Passports.
“Unfortunately, the racketeers issued them with forged documents with a promise to assist the applicants through a ‘nonexistent Abuja list’ in the Mission.
“The Mission sympathizes with the past victims, whilst admonishing our fellow Countrymen and women to always avail themselves with official channels in the Mission for assistance on compassionate grounds and desist from patronizing unofficial agents/touts.”
To curb touting and racketeering, the federal government said it would resume the £100 Fast Track service with effect from Monday, 24th May 2021.
It said all payment must be in postal orders clearly addressed to the Nigeria High Commission, London for transparency and accountability purposes.
“We shall continue to adopt extra vigilance to discover and eliminate corrupt actions associated with Passport application and processing in the Mission.
“This is in line with the zero-tolerance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as clearly spelled out in the Mission’s Charter.
“Mission will continue to investigate possible in-house collaborators for appropriate disciplinary action,” according to the statement.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Mission commenced the processing of passport application on 13th April 2021, following the lifting of the lockdown restrictions by the British government.
However, as of 31st March 2021, there was a backlog of 18,000 applications awaiting processing, which were accumulated between December 2019 to March 2021.
The statement said officers and staff of the Immigration Section worked tirelessly to reduce the backlog, adding that currently, the Mission had issued a total of 8,852 passports out of 9,964 passports that were captured from the backlog.